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By William Henry Smyth
Human Instincts in Reconstruction:
An Analysis of Urges and Suggestions for Their Direction
National Industrial Management:
Practical Suggestions for National Reconstruction
Ways and Means
To Gain Industrial Democracy
For Industrial Democracy
Magic Money, Money Magic and the Magician:
The Payers and — the Fading Smile
The Method of Solving Problems Generally
And Our Social Problem in Particular
A Working Method for a Workable Understanding
Of the Social Problem and of a Workable Reconstruction
Labor, Skill, Tally, Organization and Their Functions:
Production, Distribution, Direction
Animal-man and Man-animal:
A Working Understanding of Man the Social Unit
Old Irascible Strong and Trixie Cunning
Their Sons and Modern Society
Parasitism and Personality:
Conflicting Drifts in the Evolution of Society
The World's Great Crisis:
Emergence of Social Self-Consciousness
.. Copyright, J521, bp W_ ;H; Smyth.
WHAT IS THE MEANING OF THE SOCIAL UNREST
WHAT IS THE NATURE OF ITS ENERGIZING FORCE
IS THERE AN INTELLIGIBLE PRINCIPLE BEHIND IT
WHAT IS THE NATURE OF THE PRINCIPLE
WHITHER IS THE WORLD WIDE MOVEMENT TENDING
I wonder . .
I have read "Technocracy" with very great in-
terest. 1 have been reaching the conclusion (hir-
ing the last year especially that engineers and
technical men hold a peculiarly strategic position
in the- whole industrial structure of modern soci-
ety ; and on this account, as well as for the
substance of it, "Technocracy" makes a special
appeal to me.
Views of more or less similar import appear
to be coming from a considerable range of tech-
nical men. All of this seems to indicate a
fairly well-defined rebelliousness of practicing me-
chanics and engineers against the mechanistic
philosophy of life. It is a significant fact that
seemingly the strongest, most persistent uphold-
ers of the mechanistic philosophy are men who
are not mechanics or mechanists at all in the
WM. E. RITTER.
[William Emerson Ritter, Ph. D.. is the eminent
scientist and philosophical thinker who is Director of
the Scripps Institution for Biological Research; Pro-
fessor of zoology in the University of California;
President of the American Association for the Advance-
ment of Science (Pacific Branch); founder of "Science
Service," and author of "War, Science and Civilization";
"I he Higher Usefulness of Science"; "The Prohahle
Infinity of Nature and Life"; "The Unity of the Or-
ganism"; "An Organismal Theory of Consciousness";
etc. — Editor.]
Reprinted from the Gazette, Berkeley, California
Copyright, 1920, 1921, by W. H. Smyth,
Human Instincts in Reconstruction.
An Analysis of Urges and a Suggestion For Their Direction.
By William Henry Smyth
Note — The author shows that the forces of the four great human
instincts — to live, to make, to take, to control — are as essential in mod-
ern social life as at any time in the past. But all of these urges in a
living democracy should be controlled without being controlled. To
achieve this seeming paradox we must have a great national purpose, and
unselfish leadership such as could come through a National Council
Mr. William Henry Smyth has been in general practice as a con-
sulting engineer since 1879. He is the inventor of many machines and
mechanical devices, including a system of raising water by direct
explosion on its surface, the device being known as the "direct explo-
sion pump." He has been an engineering expert in many patent cases,
and is a frequent contributor to technical journals. As well as a pioneer
in mechanics, Mr. Smyth is a pioneer in economics. He is a member
of the leading scholarly associations in that field, including the Amer-
ican Economic Association and the Royal Economic Society of Great
(Parts I, II and III appeared originally in "Industrial Management"
of New York.)— Editor.
Instincts are the most persistent
human urge factors. Seemingly,
they are less subject to change than
even the most unchanging aspects
of our physical environment.
The Instinct to Live (self-preser-
vation) is as dominating today as
in the days of our cave-man an-
cestors; the Instinct to Construct
is as persistent in Man as in the
beaver; the Mastery Instinct (desire
to control others) is as vital as
ever; the Thievish Instinct (desire
to acquire and hoard) shows no
change, and is the same old urge
as that disclosed by the pre-man
stores of insects, birds and various
Indeed, without these primordial
urges Man could not have developed,
and the loss or atrophy of any one
of them would probably mean the
rapid extinction of the race. Thus it
would seem that our fundamental
instincts are essentially necessary to
human continuance — at least, to our
social existence. So let us look
once more at these vital factors, in
the light of recent events, in order
to see what part they now take and
are likely to play in our future social
No lesson of the war, probably, is
more obvious or more clearly de-
fined than the rapid trend toward
Skill as a predominating and con-
trolling factor in our immediate so-
Recorded history and archaeologic-
al investigation confirm the sugges-
tion that in the matter of economic
control of human activities and their
products, the possession of this con-
trol has oscillated to and fro under
the influence of one or other of the
instinctive urges, so that character-
istic types of men secured alternate
Starting in the pre-human period,
before the dawn of definite self-con-
sciousness, and continuing during
eons in the twilight of human intelli-
gence, raw brute force must have
been the dominating economic factor.
The influence of Skill during this
period was practically negligible, ex-
cept in so far as it affected indi-
viduals. Of this the huge prolonga-
tion of the unchanging "Stone Age"
is sufficient demonstration.
Contest With Cunning.
The gradual growth and rapid
culmination of the Skill factor is
an important consideration in our
present inquiry and likewise in our
Social Reconstruction problems. For
while Purposive Skill is of slow de-
velopment Purposive Cunning, on the
contrary, is inherently otherwise.
Indeed, Cunning and Purposiveness
both imply mental alertness and
hence are in some Wise synon-
For these reasons, in the early
stages of human development, raw
strength and animal cunning must
alone have contended to satisfy the
other instinctive urges — to live, to
control — practically uninfluenced by
the relatively modern urge of Pur-
Doubtless this simple conflict (of
raw strength and brute cunning)
waged with varying results, slowly
oscillating, age by age and race by
race, in favor of one or other human
type as environmental conditions or
racial admixtures gave one or other
the advantage of circumstance.
And, as Economics implies: the
usages, laws, and institutions where-
by a community endeavors to or-
ganize its methods and means of
living: those whose activities char-
acterize the times initiate and ad-
minister its economics.
So, with these age-long oscilla-
tions of control types, economic in-
stitutions necessarily underwent like
changes, conforming to the dom-
inating human characteristics of each
Age and Nation. That they did so
oscillate and economically conform,
in the vaguest dawn of human be-
ginnings, is the teaching of archae-
During the past few thousand years
the contest of Strength and Cun-
ning is shown by reliable historical
records to have oscillated with com-
parative rapidity between one and
the other extreme — including consid-
erable periods during which Strength
and Cunning unified control by
union of Church and State.
Prior to the immediate present was
a transition stage caused by the
gradual weakening of the bond be-
tween Church and State, with a
coincidental shifting of control in
favor of Cunning (under a changed
and relatively modern guise repre-
senting the instinctive Urge to
Take) expressing itself as Commer-
cialism. With this change came a
consequent modification of usages,
laws, and institutions appropriate to
its highest expression — Capitalism —
capitalistic economics. The result of
this last oscillation of control in
favor of (acquisitive) Cunning was
that Germany became a nation of
slaves, England a nation of paupers,
France quit breeding, and the United
States went wealth crazy!
Challenge by Purposive Skill.
The war represents the conclusive
termination (in this period) of the
age-long contest of Force and Cun-
ning — for the control of men, and
the products of their activity.
But this last and most spectacular
conflict is complicated by the intru-
sion of the most modern and most
rapidly developing factor — Organized
Here, then, Skill enters the arena
with a challenge to both earlier con-
testants — for the prize of human
control, and mastery of the social
machinery; enters that contest — older
than the race itself — the struggle to
satisfy the primordial instincts: to
Live — to Control — to Take.
Strength vs. Cunning vs. Skill.
Thus the contest has become a
triangular fight between the Strong,
the Cunning, and the Skilful; a fight
in which raw brute force is a par-
ticipant of rapidly diminishing im-
portance — a modified continuation of
the old time bloody contest, for a
humanly undesirable outcome.
Cunning-control is today the vic-
tor, and in possession of the spoils —
the financial wealth of the world.
But all the evidence points to a
short enjoyment and a losing fight
against the organized forces of Pur-
Creaking Capitalism Cracking.
Capitalism — under war stress —
shows convincing evidence of in-
adequacy. The non-effectiveness of
money and credit wealth has be-
come so obvious as to procure the
enactment of "Work or Fight" laws.
Thus, into the discard went our pre-
war money evaluation of men to be
substituted by a standard which
measures millionaire and hobo alike
in accordance with their relative
Our pre-war faith in the mysteri-
ous Magic of Money too received a
staggering shock when all the pri-
vate fortunes enmassed and all the
billions of national credit combined
utterly failed to add a single pound
of much needed sugar to our limited
supply, necessitating the "two pounds
of sugar per person" apportionment
— a commonplace vulgar fraction
measure applicable to Financial
Potentate and Weary Willie — alike!
Producer Versus Parasite.
On broader lines also the evidence
points the same way: purposive skill is
inherently productive, while purpose-
ful cunning is naturally parasitic.
Then, the capability of cunning to
rule, and the continuance of its suc-
cess in controlling others, resides in
and depends upon the stupidity and il-
literacy of the governed: mystery and
magic are its weapons — equally in the
realm of modern Finance as in the
Skill implies the reverse of all this,
for skill is intelligence physically
manifested. It is knowledge of Na-
ture's Laws utilized dexterously — and
the spread of scientific information
characterizes our age. Thus as the
bulwarks of cunning-control crumble,
the weapons of skill are multiplied and
So the outcome seems a foregone
With this outcome, our methods
of life will necessarily change. Capi-
talistic customs, laws, and institutions
will be substituted by others differing
as widely from those with which we
are familiar as the motor ideas and
ideals of purposeful cunning differ
from those of purposeful skill.
"Work or Fight" Lesson.
Peradventure, the "Work or Fight"
and the "2 pounds of sugar per per-
son" measures are tonic foretastes of
the coming Skill-Economics.
Obviously we are in transition to a
new social order.
The signs of the times portend the
dethroning of decadent acquisitive
capitalism and the crowning of pro-
ductive skill—Autocrat of the new
Age — Artizanism.
This change has been in dubious
process for years; the War has merely
speeded its progress and made the
outcome practically inevitable. But,
whether it be brought about by evolu-
tion or revolution, or whether it comes
in clean-cut aspect or befogged by ir-
relevant social factors and forces, it
is in no sense a rational or final so-
lution of our "social problem."
In any event, should Artizanism
come, it will be merely another social
spasm, probably shorter than, but
equally as futile as, our present world-
wide finance madness.
Instincts Not A Rational Basis.
While it is conceivable that human ,
societies could be organized upon and
with any one of the stated basic In-
stincts as dominant factor and
raison d'etre; it is practically certain
that any such national society would
be quite ineffective, and transient. For
obviously it would not and could not
satisfy even our present limited intel-
ligence, our rational imagination, or
our modern spiritual ideals.
No very extended analysis would be
required to show the validity of this
proposition. The past has already
demonstrated the insufficiency of so-
stinct — Autocracy. The present amply
cieti'es based upon the Mastery In-
proves the failure of the Acquisitive
Instinct as a social basis — Plutocracy.
A moment's thought will show that
a society based upon the Making In-
stinct would simply crumble in its
formative process under the demands
of our complicated modern mental
make-up, for clearly this instinct pro-
vides inadequate Human scope — and
hence presupposes parasitism in even
more extended form than that of ac-
quisitive Capitalism. And — worse
than all — a society based upon the In-
stinct to Live and Propagate, would
return us at once to the brute state
from which we have arisen through
ages of struggle, strife, and bloodshed.
Control Without Control.
Still, it is apparent that the basic
instincts which urge "to live," "to
make," "to take," "to control," are as
useful, yes, are as essential in and to
modern social life as they have been
in all the past. But, while all are
necessary, no one of them constitutes
a proper basis — law of operation — for
a rational human society organization.
They are factors, necessary and desir-
able contributary parts, no one of
which is inherently adapted to func-
tion as the machine's unifier, its strain
and speed equalizer — its control ele-
Thus, the determination of a suit-
able character of "control" element is
seemingly the crux of our social prob-
lem; the problem of controlling with-
out control, that old, old paradox:
Freedom made effective by restraint —
a paradox, however, which the war
. may have resolved for us, by demon-
strating its non-existence.
It has, in somewise, answered our
troublous question by clear definition
in the statement of the Nation's ob-
ject in going to war.
The war has answered the question,
in another aspect, by the Nation's
adoption of the method (forced upon
it by logical compulsion) whereby
success was achieved.
"To make the World safe for De-
mocracy" is the clearest and most uni-
versally accepted statement of our
purpose in going to war — Self-govern-
ment for Nations, Self-government for
Concept of Control.
Control by others, then, is antitheti-
cal to the ideals for which we have
waged this last, the greatest, and,
it is hoped, the final bloody contest for
Control is equally antithetical to our
[deals of Self-government whether the
control is exercised by "others" char-
acterized by the Instinct to live and
breed — the Masses; or whether the
control is exercised by "others" char-
acterized by the Instinct to Make —
the Skilled Artizan; or whether the
control is exercised by "others" urged
by the Instinct of Mastery — the Em-
ployers; or whether the control is ex-
ercised by "others" under their domi-
nating Acquisitive Instinct — the
Indeed, the concept: control by
"others," is an idea inherent in and
appropriate only to now discredited
Autocracy — a concept which the War
has rendered an obsolete ideal — if we
are yet intelligent enough to profit
by its costly teaching.
Discard Cave-Man Control.
To be rationally consistent this
"control" concept should be as ab-
sent as it is obsolete (in fact and
effect) in our inevitable reconstruc-
This Autocracy "control" concept
must be thrown in the discard where
we have dumped the European auto-
crats whose ideal it was — if our recon-
struction efforts are intended to pro-
duce a rationally organized Modern
Human Society; a Society founded up-
on the Ideals consecrated by the life
blood of our bravest and best.
But our age-long familiarity with
"control by others," in our halting
progress, from brute beast to modern
Man, has so deeply ingrained in our
mental fiber this stone-age concept as
to make it almost impossible for us
to even conceive the idea of a society
lacking this cave-man spiked-club
Yet, no fact and lesson of our par-
ticipation in the War is more clear
and free from doubt than the spon-
taneous acquiescence by the people of
the United States — rich and poor, arti-
zan and laborer, alike — in self-control,'
self-repression, self-dedication to the
united will and unified purpose of the
No lesson of the War is more
significant than: Given a National
Purpose, intelligently comprehended
and acquiesced in — only unselfish
Leadership is needed, and neither
control by force nor control by
cunning is necessary to bring about
the unification of effort needed to
accomplish the Nation's Objective.
The significance of this lesson is
the utter irrationality of national
control in the hands of any class
characterized by self-centered in-
stincts, or that strength or skill or
cunning should be dominating fac-
tors in the social structure.
Though none of these factors
should dominate, each and all of
these vital and necessary elements
should have free scope for the so-
cially effective outflow of its
particular expression of life energy.
Second only in significance to the
acquiescence and co-operation of the
united people is the method irre-
sistibly forced upon the Nation by
the logic and necessities of its stu-
pendous War problem.
First Real Nation.
This most modern economic in-
stitution, and the unified co-opera-
tion of the united people, are the
two outstanding lessons of the War
Taken together, they point sig-
nificantly to the solution of our
social problem — the lacking element
which should and could consciously,
deliberately, and rationally unify the
basic instinctive urges into an har-
monious direction of national effort
and so produce a humanly efficient
national organization — the first real
Nation on earth!
The lacking element? — the element
which is adapted to assume the func-
tion and position to be vacated by
the obsolescent autocratic concept —
arbitrary "control" — the element ca-
pable of controlling without con-
trol, of making Freedom effective,
Democracy a living fact as well as
a noble Ideal!
In this, as in many other seem-
ingly difficult problems of long
standing, the solution has evaded us
by reason of its very obviousness.
Such a unifying factor has always
existed in plain view — unutilized in
its proper function of Social Strain
Equalizer. Indeed, this urge factor,
more even than the Instincts — "to
Live," "to Make," "to Take," "to
Control" — is the most universal and
most humanly characterizing trait of
that most marvelous complex — Man.
Desire to Know.
I refer to Curiosity — curiosity ra-
tionalized into Desire to Know.
Desire to Know, while equally
urgent for gratification, inherently
lacks the undesirable and inappro-
priate qualities which render the
other human Instincts unsuitable as
organizing and strain equalizing fac-
tors in the social structure. Also it
possesses qualities and attributes
which make it peculiarly adapted to
perform the rationally harmonizing
function so irrationally assumed in
all earlier social organizations under
the guise of Forceful and Cunning
Desire to Know is as imperative
in its demands as any of the self-
centered motor Instincts — to live, to
make, to take, to control — but it is
impersonal; while it is as aggressive
as other Instinctive Urges, charac-
teristically its energies and activities
are directed at Nature, not in ag-
gression on human opponents; hence
it engenders no human strife; and
while it drives furiously, it drives
none but its possessor — in the pur-
suit of Knowledge.
Desire to Know, while profoundly
interested in all that pertains to
Human Life and living — to eugenics
and racial development — character-
istically its possessor would risk his
own life in the pursuit of Knowledge.
Desire to Know, though urgently
interested in Nature's Laws and in
all that concerns the correct making
and constructing of things, charac-
teristically lacks desire to make or
construct things, but seeks only sys-
tematized concepts of Knowledge.
Desire to Know, while deeply in-
terested in all that pertains to the
desirable things of the world and to
economic affairs, characteristically
lacks the thievish impulse — the In-
stinct to Take, to acquire _ physical
possession: supremely acquisitive it
craves only to acquire Knowledge.
Desire to Know, while surpass-
ingly Masterful, desires no mastery
of Men; it craves instead, God-like
insight, pre-vision, prophecy—power
in the boundless realms of Knowl-
Here then is an indomitable Urge
lacking all the inappropriate qualities
of the strife producing Autocratic
Force-and-Fear Control motor con-
cept of Social Organization, and
possessed of all the unifying quali-
ties of Social Leadership.
A Human Society or Nation is
sanely designed and rationally or-
ganized on correct principles only
when it has a Purpose, and (as in
the case of a well considered ma-
chine) only when full cognizance is
taken of all its contributory elements,
together with their essential func-
tions and their proper co-ordination.
A National Objective.
A truly efficient National Organi-
zation would facilitate (not suppress
or prohibit) the expression of all
inherent Instinctive Urges, rational-
izing their outflowing life energy
(by sane institutional conventions)
into unification in a fully pre-
determined National Purpose.
In a crude but clearly perceptible
manner the United States, during the
War, gave suggestion of such an
Ideal Social Arrangement.
It had a defined and universally
Its Scientific (Desire to Know)
Men and its Scientific Societies were
(more or less) organized into a Uni-
fying and Advisory Board to formu-
late and suggest methods and means
for sane living and — to accomplish
the predetermined purpose of the Na-
We have accomplished the object
of the W T ar:
We have made the World safe for
Now, let us inaugurate a Demo-
cracy — a Democracy with an object
for its existence — a Democracy with
By the peril to its life, the Nation
has been shocked into momentary
sanity. Let us while still rational,
rationally take to heart the lessons
which the War has taught at so
staggering a cost:
First: The need of a National
Purpose; a purpose based upon peace
and rational Human Development;
a purpose as inspiring and as unify-
ing as War for Democracy, and as
high as our highest Ideals of Life.
Second: The need of a Supreme
National Council of Scientists —
supreme over all other National In-
stitutions — to advise and instruct us
how best to Live, and how most effi-
ciently to realize our Individual and
our National Purpose and Ideals.
But, First and Last, a unifying Na-
Fernwald, Berkeley, December, 1918.
IS WEALTH MORE PRECIOUS THAN HUMAN PERSONALITY?
IS IT RATIONAL TO BASE HUMAN SOCIETY
ON ANIMAL INSTINCTS?
National Industrial Management.
Practical Suggestions for National Reconstruction.
By William Henry Smyth
NOTE: — After outlining and characterizing the great economic drifts
in the national developments of the past, the author declares that during
the period of war the United States has developed the new form in gov-
ernment for which there is no precedent in human experience. He calls
this "Technocracy" — the organizing, co-ordinating and directing through
industrial management on a nation-wide scale of the scientific knowledge
and practical skill of all the people who could contribute to the accomplish-
ment of a great national purpose. Carry this new form of government into
the days of peace and we will have industrial democracy — a new common-
wealth. — Editor.
The United States is obviously in
social flux, in unstable economic equili-
brium — in transition. Customs and
usages which a few years ago received
universal approval and legal sanction
are now punished as crimes. Eco-
nomic expedients which but yester-
day were deemed irrational imagina-
tions of Utopian visionaries are today
accomplished facts. And in every di-
rection immemorial methods and time
honored social processes have lost
Like ocean streams enfolding in
mass-flow all this whirling confusion
of economic cross-currents, legal revo-
lutions, and social agitations, there are
to be observed certain super-control-
Centralization of Government.
Concentration of Wealth.
Unification of Mechanical Industries.
Force, Wealth, Industry.
These great economic drifts indi-
cate the mass resultant of myriad in-
dividual activities expressing that pe-
culiarly human quality which has made
man the dominating animal factor on
earth — unquenchable desire to con-
trol — the Mastery Instinct. And what
is more important in the present con-
nection, these super-controlling social
drifts also indicate the only directions
possible for the social expression of
this indomitable human urge:
Direct control of men by force and
fear — exemplified in Centralization of
Government; indirect control of men
by controlling their products — shown
in Concentration of Wealth; mutual-
ized control (i. e., utilization) of Na-
ture — expressed in Unification of Me-
In these various forms of social ag-
gregations there are, broadly speak-
ing, but three human types involved:
The type characterized by aggres-
sive physical strength; the type char-
acterized by alert mental cunning; the
type characterized by purposive skill.
Of these the last — the purposive
skill type — is significantly modern,
brought into social prominence by
that most stupendous social factor,
experimental science, science which is
the effective cause and basis of this
era of invention — our industrial age.
A triangular conflict of ideals of life
and of social purpose has thus been
inaugurated; a conflict which ac-
counts for and is expressed in
our "social unrest," "conflict of
capital and labor," our "social
problem" and "reconstruction." The
strife for supremacy of social ideal
and community purpose thus indicat-
ed, is co-extensive with the human
race; its most spectacular climax is
the World War. And notwithstand-
ing the many confusing forms and
many-sided aspects which this world-
wide human struggle presents, it is,
of course, at bottom the ages old con-
test of Slavery and Liberty, Bondage
The Golden Age?
Our answer to this old but ever new
problem will determine whether our
industrial age will progress to a so-
cial condition of individual freedom to
which nothing in the past is compar-
able, or whether our time shall be, to
future generations, the Golden Age! —
the highwater mark of human liberty
— the age of a noble but a futile fight
for a great ideal — Democracy.
In simple cave-man times the boss-
parent, quite naturally, made and ad-
miaistcred suitable primitive eco-
nomics — with his persuasive club as a
very practical emblem of authority.
Under this raw-force regime the
weaker "fagged" for the stronger; and
the doings and havings of the "fags"
made life more likeable for the force-
As the procreator of his subjects —
and superior in strength during most
of their lives — the "ownership" of
them and theirs by the boss-parent
was as "natural" as any other obvious
fact; and chattel slavery as necessary
as parent ownership is self-evident.
Then, Miracle-Fire-Maker and Ani-
mal Breeder came along, and dis-
turbed many of the time honored and
well established customs — playing
havoc generally with club-economics.
By his wonder working magics cun-
ning Miracle-worker put the fear of
gods (more potent than physical
strength) into the heart of simple old
skull-cracker parent-god. So Miracle-
worker waxed fat, and in his turn
initiated and administered suitable
economics — fire worship and mystery-
economics, otherwise Theocracy.
With theocracy came the greatest
of all social revolutions; the dethron-
ing of brute strength and the crown-
ing of mental alertness — Cunning.
This marked an epoch in human his-
tory, in man's upward progress as
a social animal. Also it marked the
beginning of control of men (and their
products) through man's instinctive
fear of the unknown — the Rule of the
With varying fortunes force-eco-
nomics and cunning-economics con-
tended for supremacy till in compara-
tively modern times autocracy was
found an effective compromise. In this
most practical arrangement, the (by
that time conventionalized) parent-
god received his authority from the
All-powerful God-of-Magic. So was
initiated modernized force-mystery-
economics. And the human race has
as yet found no more efficient means
for the control of organized society
than force-mystery-economics; meth-
ods, means, and institutions which, but
superficially modified since old Miracle
worker's day, still function in our
twentieth century (autocratic and
democratic) customs, usages, conven-
tions, and legalized economic systems.
In cave-man economics, the real
function of the club or the purpose
of Club-er was not to incapacitate
Club-ee, but to induce the latter to do
and supply the matters and things
which otherwise would require greater
and more constant expenditure of ef-
fort on the part of the economist, than
the semi-occasional swing of his skull-
Old Skull-cracker's motives (though
more crudely expressed) were the
same as mine are, in the employment
of my cook and my gardener, that is
economy of effort on my part; other-
But the club-economic-system was
essentially wasteful and inefficient; its
operating expenses were outrageously
high, notwithstanding the low cost of
raw (human) material. Indeed, the
system was apt to defeat its own ends,
especially in those strenuous days,
when zeal commonly outran discre-
Doers and Suppliers.
Thus mystery-coercion represents
an enormous economic advance over
raw physical force. Fear of unknown
but awesome consequences for failure
to do and supply matters and things is
fully as effective as the club — and be-
yond measure less wasteful of Doers
So it is quite natural and inevitable
that crude force methods and pro-
cesses of economic control should
lose favor in competition with mystery
economic systems. And long race ex-
perience has proved that a judicious
combination of club and mystery
(otherwise force and cunning) makes
for the highest degree of efficiency in
a Working-by-Proxy economic sys-
Such economic systems, however,
obviously imply direct or indirect
slavery — ownership of the body or
control of the mind of the proxy. And
for the latter the mystery method is
peculiarly adapted and most satisfac-
For self-evident reasons, control
over another's mind is more effective
and economical than property owner-
ship of his body, taking into con-
sideration the practical responsibility
which the latter entails. So quite na-
turally, direct ownership of Proxy by
the economical Worker-by-proxy gives
place to customs, usages, and conven-
tions (economics), facilitating control
over the results of Proxy's activities.
Then, too, complex division of labor
and specialization render chattel slav-
ery impractical, indeed unworkable, in
a society highly organized for pro-
ductive industry. So an ideal work-
ing-by-proxy economic system would
permit complete physical liberty to do
and to make, while arranging appro-
priate usages, customs, and laws which
automatically transfer ownership of
the matters and things done and made,
from the doers and makers to the
The difference between modern and
primordial economics is not in idea or
purpose, but only in added obscurity
of method and in greater complexity
of detail. Incidentally, also, it has be-
come evident that "economics" is not
a "science" in any proper sense, but
a variable system of community us-
ages intended to facilitate the pre-
dominating social activities. And,
hence, to be workable an "economic
system" must be in keeping with the
activities which characterize the times.
In cave-man times, the boss-parent
and his club-men had to make cave-
economics. A system initiated by the
"fags" would have been obviously un-
workable. The priesthood had to
initiate and administer theocratic eco-
nomics. And so on, through the
various changes in social organization:
Those whose activities characterize
the times must initiate and administer
Raw force has been relegated to
the economic backwoods — to the
racially infantile tribes of darkest
Africa, and to the social usages of
our anachronistic "criminal elements,"
the yegg, the thug, the gun-fighter,
the strong-arm gangs of the under-
world of modern organized society.
Theocracy, with its crude cunning,
its childish terrors and its dazzling
promises of future (super-mundane)
rewards, has practically vanished as a
recognized dominant social factor — a
fading shadow of ancient greatness.
Autocracy, that cunning combination
of force and fear economics, has just
now been dumped into the scrap-heap
of out-worn social expedients, at the
cost of the most atrocious and blood-
iest of all wars, and the flower of the
Plutocracy, with its autocratic capi-
talistic economics (while weakened
and shaken by the shocks and stresses
of the World War) is still a virile
contestant for the throne of World
Strength, Skill, Cunning.
Economics efficient for autocracy
must necessarily differ from eco-
nomics appropriate to theocracy; and
these would differ from economics
suitable for plutocracy; and these
again would differ still more from
economics appropriate to and efficient
for Industrial Democracy. In brief:
and Skill-economics must necessarily
differ as widely as the essential dif-
ferences between the basic qualities,
Strength, Cunning, Skill.
Hence any attempt to organize or
"re-construct" a social aggregation
with these three basic human traits
as contemporary economic bases
means sir.^ly continual social warfare;
a war which, sooner or later, must be
decided by victory for the Strong, the
Cunning, or the Skilled — unless human
ingenuity can devise a form of society
which will permit and facilitate the
full, unified, and socially useful expres-
sion of these three irrepressible forms
of life energy. -^.
Thus we return to the three great
Centralization of Government;
Concentration of Wealth;
Unification of Mechanistic Indus-
Of the first two little need be said,
for they are familiar racial experi-
ences. But the last — the mechanizing
of life — is quite otherwise; hence it is,
if for no other reason, the most sig-
nificant factor to be taken into account
in the social problems with which we
are now confronted — our problem of
And, truly, our modern mechaniza-
tion of human life is a most dubious
social experiment — a danger-fraught
development — a dynamitic racial ad-
Back of the mechanizing of human
functioning is that greatest of all mod-
ern marvels — experimental science.
Science has brought about a pro-
found revolution in our mental atti-
tude toward life, and in our methods
of dealing with nature. It has swept
into the discard practically all our pre-
vious notions regarding ourselves and
our relations to the laws of nature —
to Universal Reality. It has, at the
same time, debased man's pride in the
dust of humility, and glorified intelli-
gence and human worth to God-like
Science is, of course, the effective
cause of our present mechanistic de-
velopment — with all its physical bene-
fits and all its spiritual horrors; for
science knows neither morals nor eth-
ics, and is equally potent for social
"bad" as for social "good."
Science works just as effectively in
criminal hands as in thos,^ of a saint.
It is an impersonal, ethically neutral
force and factor so potent that — even
in the chaotic condition in which it
now exists — it has brought about a
world revolution in man's mental out-
look and his physical activities, both
individually and collectively. Indeed
it has shown to man a new Heaven,
a new Earth, and a new Hell.
Our social Heaven we have yet to
construct, but the World War is suf-
ficiently impressive proof of what
social Hell can be wrought by Science
in the hands of self-interest.
Past and Present.
As the result of modern science,
the present time is without precedent,
hence no valid analogy exists or can
be imagined between an economic
system appropriate to our science-
taught mechanistic age and earlier
economic systems suitable to condi-
tions of iife, the warp, woof, and pat-
tern of which were Mystery, Magic,
That no helpful comparison can be
made between the past and the pres-
ent would be completely true, were
it not that our science teachings affect
but the thinnest superficial layer of
our conscious thinking, while the
There is a serenity, a long view on the part of science, which seems
to be of no age, but to carry human thought along from generation to
generation, freed from the elements of passion. Every just mind must
condemn those who so debase the studies of men in science as to
use them against humanity and, therefore, it is part of your task and of
ours to reclaim science from this disgrace, to show that she is devoted to
the advancement and interest in humanity and not to its embarrass-
ment and destruction. The spirit of science is a spirit of seeking after
truth so far as the truth is ready to be applied to human circum-
From President Wilson's address before the Academy of Lincei in
fabric of our thought processes, our
familiar customs, our current usages,
our economic institutions remain prac-
tically unchanged — our racial heritage.
But, even so, the unceasing con-
flict of past and present, of slavery
and freedom, of bondage and liberty,
of error and truth., goes ever on and
on — a blood soaked path; a path of
misery, strife and disappointment,
though hopefully ever upward toward
our ideal — Industrial Democracy with
personal freedom for Self-realization.
Without a concurrent change of
economic institutions appropriate to
the amazingly rapid psychical devel-
opment and refinement of our modern
ideals — brought about by the advent*
of science — the realization of these
ideals will be impossible. And sorrow-
fully we recognize that man's instinc-
tive resistance to change of eld estab-
lished modes of thought— howsoever
irrational — makes progress in this di-
rection seem almost hopeless.
Most reluctantly are familiar fal-
lacies relinquished, indeed, we hang
on to them with irrational tenacity
ages after their unworkable character
has time and again been tragically
As in our bodily functions and skele-
tal frame there still persist the char-
acteristics of our Saurian primordial
ancestry, so ancient modes of thought
live unnoted in our present day think-
ing processes; and our social institu-
tions represent the seemingly out-
grown superstitions constituting
man's mental heredity during every
past age since the infancy of the
"Gott mit uns."
Medievalism characterizes our sa-
cred and secular institutions and
energizes our customary actions.
Demonology is practically as prev-
alent as in the past; unnoted in
ourselves but easily perceived in the
"Gott mit uns" attitude of the
We pray for health, heedless of
nature's laws; we pray for long life
while disregarding the simple rules
of right living; we beseech forgive-
ness of "sin" while making sin
profitable by deliberate legal enact-
ment. In a world filled to over-
flowing with all good and humanly
desirable things to be had for the
striving, we economically steal from
our industrious neighbors; like
paupers we beg "God" for vicari-
ously earned joys, for unearned
prosperity, and for all other forms of
undeserved "good fortune;" and like
pert children we urge silly advice
on our man-made Providence, for
the conduct of common human af-
faiis, which we are too lazy, too
stupid, too self-indulgent to bring to
desired outcome by our own effort.
The God of Chance.
Important departments of life and
the distribution of the products of
industry — trade, speculation, oppor-
tunity, recreation — involve large ele-
ments of "luck," for by grotesquely
solemn "laws" the issues are left
to the "God of Chance." Just pre-
cisely as in the old days when mo-
mentous matters were settled by the
entrails of sacrificial animals.
The killing of President McKinle^
by a madman "caused" the depre-
ciation in the value of stocks to the
extent of thousands of millions of
dollars; the San Francisco calamity
— which rendered half a million hu-
man beings homeless — "made" for-
tunes for the owners of and specu-
lators in suburban property; the
Titanic disaster threw a hundred
millions of wealth (others' products)
into the hands of a school-boy, and
with it control over the lives ol
thousands of human beings; and even
the supreme tragedy of a World
at War is the prolific "cause" of
transforming hundreds of mediocre
men into multi-millionaires — and
hence into powerful social factors
All this represents kindergarten
thinking, primitive and childish _ as
nursery prattle of prixies and fairies,
Aladin's lamp, and all the other
forms of Old World superstition and
diabolism, worthy only of the in-
fancy of the race.
Were it not that these grotes-
queries characterize our "economic
and finance system" and our solemn
Professors soberly teach them, they
would be utterly incredible in this
Age of Science and Mechanics.
But, as already indicated, our "eco-
nomics and finance" are merely sur-
vivals from pre-science times; an in-
heritance from the days of wizardry
and witchcraft, mystery and magic.
Our quaint "economics" and queer
"finance" are as anachronistic, as
inconsistent, and as ineffective in this
Mechanical Age of Industrialism, as
astrology would be in an astrono-
mical observatory, alchemy in a
chemical laboratory or "perpetual mo-
tion" in a machine shop.
Imagination based on science en-
ables us to foresee the oak in the
acorn — coming events latent in pres-
ent happenings. But so strong is
custom, so firm is the grip of the
past, so compelling is the obses-
sion of ancient superstitions, that —
with all our lately acquired capa-
bility for rational scientific thinking
— only the tragedy of the accom-
plished fact has sufficient power to
jolt our sluggard wits into momen-
Ten, fifteen, yes, twenty-five years
ago, it required no more intelligence
to foresee the present war than to
anticipate a crop in the Fall from
seed sown in the Spring.
Even less scientific imagination is
now needed to foretell a condition
of social disintegration, one more wide-
spread and disastrous than the War,
as the logical and inevitable outcome
of our irrational and antiquated so-
cial conventions — our "economic and
If taking — by force or diverting by
cunning, in whole or in part — the
product of another's effort, without
adequate equitable return, be accept-
ed as a valid social principle of
action between individuals, it must
be equally good and proper as be-
tween social groups, as between na-
But however disguised in smooth
sounding phrases — the "chances of
business," the "profits of trade,"
the "opportunity of others' misfor-
tune," the "prize of the victor," the
"fortunes of war," the "right of
might" — taking expresses the par-
asitic and predatory instincts. And,
called by whatsoever name or how-
soever disguised, taking others' mak-
ings by force, or diverting others'
products by stealthy cunning, inevit-
ably involves unending strife; strife
within the group and recurring wars
of nations — strife to settle the rela-
tive strength or cunning as between
individuals, and wars to determine
the relative might of nations.
Our "economic system" is essen-
tially autocratic in means, in method,
in objective. Being a left-over from
an Age of Predatory Autocracy,
necessarily its ideals are materialis-
tic — its motor instinct and urge im-
pulse being self-centered "greed and
grab." Naturally its means are force
and cunning and its methods are
ruthless, for its object is power —
power, irresponsible and absolute.
Our Modern Ideals.
If we are to remain true to our
ideals — ideals which the flame of war
has illumined to our normally pur-
blind spiritual insight — our course
is determined. We have no choice
but to choose freedom: pioneer a
virgin trail, slash a course unblazed
by history, uncharted in race experi-
ence — a courage testing National Ad-
The race has never before been
confronted with a situation in any
way analogous to the one in which
we now find ourselves, nor a prob-
lem the like of that which we are
now compelled to solve; yes, and
solve correctly, if we would avoid
distintegration into social chaos —
overwhelmed by a science-made
Science Is Dynamitic!
Science has, however, put into our
hands an instrumentality of such
immeasurable potency, that, used
with intelligent courage, we may con-
quer all our difficulties, surmount all
our social obstructions.
But, Science left to chance, or in
the hands of unintelligent self-interest,
the chances are it will work untold
There are so many roads to go
wrong, and only one way to go right.
To leave a force and factor of
such supreme social significance and
potentiality as Science in its present
condition — socially uncontrolled and
unorganized for the commonweal —
is more crassly unintelligent than to
permit fused and capped dynamite to
be scattered around promiscuously,
to the chances of any carelessly or
maliciously applied spark.
(A striking and significant parallel-
ism to the thought here expressed
was subsequently voiced by Presi-
dent Wilson in one of his speeches
at the Versailles Peace Conference:
"Is it not a startling circumstance,
for one thing, that the quiet studies
of men in laboratories, that the
thoughtful developments which have
taken place in quiet lecture rooms,
have now been turned to the de-
struction of civilization?
"The enemy whom we have just
overcome had at his seats of learning
some of the principal centers of
scientific study and discovery, and he
used them in order to make de-
struction sudden and complete; and
only the watchful, continuous co-op-
eration of men can see to it that
science as well as armed men are
kept within the harness of civiliza-
In the rough, Democracy is the
rule of the mob, the rule of the
masses, the rule of the majority — the
rule of un-intelligence. But even so,
it is better than any form of govern-
mental control based upon self-inter-
est — not excepting "Beneficent Autoc-
Humanly bad and socially ineffi-
cient as it may be, and has been, De-
mocracy alone encloses and fosters
the living germ of freedom — self- gov-
But, during the scant two years that
we were at war, no ordinary or ac-
cepted definition of Democracy could
make that term descriptive of the
United States; indeed, under the life
threatening stress of a World War,
•our great but chaotic nation — in self-
preservation — ceased to be a Democ-
In that remarkable war transfor-
mation, we certainly did not become
an Autocracy; even less so a Plutoc-
racy; and least of all a Theocracy. In
fact, during this thrillingly interesting
time, the United States developed into
a form of "Government" for which
there is no precedent in human ex-
National Industrial Management
The characterizing peculiarity which
rendered our great country unique —
during this period of national stress —
and not only unique but uniquely ir-
resistible, was the fact that we ra-
tionally organized our National Indus-
trial Management. We became, for
the time being, a real Industrial Na-
This we did by organizing and co-
ordinating the Scientific Knowledge,
the Technical Talent, the Practi-
cal Skill and the Man Power of the
entire Community: focusing them in
the National Government, and apply-
ing this Unified National Force to the
accomplishment of a Unified National
For this unique experiment in ra-
tionalized Industrial Democracy I
have coined the term "Technocracy."
It was but an experiment — a forced
one — to meet an exceptionally serious
emergency; and like most other ex-
perimental devices, it doubtless was
far from perfect in many ways and
details. Still, as it seems to me, it
presented an important suggestion, the
germ of a novel and significant idea —
a pioneer idea in the ancient art of
Until appropriate economic institu-
tions and instrumentalities are avail-
able, humanly effective Industrial De-
mocracy must remain an unrealizable
ideal, a theory unattainable as a work-
a-day principle of social life, and for
the efficient distribution of the pro-
ducts of toil, upon which human life
The practical working out of our
present efforts in this direction, has so
far only resulted in a frenzied scram-
ble for wealth, place, power — a brut-
ish-instinct-scramble, in which greed,
cunning, and lust for human mastery
are the urges; "dog-eat-dog" the
"practical" ideal; and mystery,
medievalis m, law-loaded-dice and
chuck-a-luck instrumentalities the con-
The Greedless Scientist.
In this weird social (?) conglomera-
tion how incongruous seems — and, in-
deed, is— the greedless scientist, who
seeks but to learn, to comprehend, and
to co-ordinate the laws of nature; and
who cares naught for human masterv.
In this frenzied scramble for science-
created wealth what earthly chance
has its real creator — the scientist?
None, unless he sells himself into
virtual slavery; unless he debauches
his truth-seeking to the interest of
those who — more "practical" — devote
their energy and cunning to the "prac-
tical" enterprise of gaining power by
securing control of wealth. And yet,
the United States is characteristically
a nation of technologists — scientists,
inventors, workers in and utilizers of
the raw materials and the forces of
nature. Not only are we instinctively
mechanistic, but we are — by heritage,
by force of circumstance, and by tra-
dition — born lovers of personal free-
dom. Freedom is our ideal — self-
Prior to the War, our de-humaniz-
ing ideal was Mechanistic Efficiency,
under its soul-searching stress was
born a Humanly Effective Nation.
Our Costly Lesson.
With all these considerations before
us, and our fleeting glance at the pos-
sibilities of socially unified skill, tech-
nology, and science, how worse than
foolish to revert to our pre-War "dog-
eat-dog" practices and practical (?)
Instead of so doing, would it not
be well to take to heart the lessons
forced upon us at so stupendous a
cost of life and human misery?
Would it not be wise statesmanship
to experiment further on the lines of
direction into Avliich we were forced
by the compulsions and stresses of
Reconstruction — With a National
The War is over — won!
We are now facing the — in reality — ■
more stupendous problems of social
For the War, we enlisted, conscript-
ed, commandeered all our men who by
natural aptitude, and by personal in-
clination, were adapted to the require-
ments of war. We organized and co-
ordinated them for the intended pur-
pose; Ave trained and exercised their
bodies and their minds to meet known
and unknown trials; we energized
their loyalty to the Flag — the Com-
monweal; we stirred their personal de-
votion to the Nation's ideals; we en-
thused their wills to the accomplish-
ment of the unified Will of the Nation
— the National Objective.
Rationalized Industrial Democracy.
No need is there to speak of the
result of this Unification of National
Spirit and National Purpose — the War
is over; won! — gloriously won!
As we enlisted all those peculiarly
adapted to the destructive functions
of War, let us now systematically
unify those peculiarly adapted to the
constructive functions of Peace — our
scientists, our technologists, our in-
ventors, indeed, all who by natural
aptitude and personal inclination are
specially fitted to deal with the social
and constructive problems of peaceful
industry; nationally unify them and
their accomplishments for the Com-
Let us organize our scientists,
our technologists, our exceptionallji
skilled; let us commandeer, conscript,
enlist, their loyalty, their devotion,
their enthusiasm, their intelligence,
their interest, their talents, their ac-
complishments for the purposes of
Peace and the realization of a Noble
Let us rationalize our Industrial De-
Public Service First.
We are up against the problem of
national reconstruction; let us not
tinker with futile details — let us na-
Such a national co-ordination of
Science and Technology, as is here
suggested, would produce and consti-
tute a living and Social life-giving Na-
tional Reservoir of Science — practical
and theoretical; a Technical Army de-
voted to Peace and Construction.
It would constitute a National Army,
from which alone Private Interests
could draw their needed scientific and
technical personnel; personnel whose
loyalty is primarily to the Common-
weal—the Nation; the Nation of which
they arc honored Public Servants.
This is the exact reverse of our pres-
ent unpatriotic, un-democratic order
and organization. Yet, such an intim-
ate, but subsidiary, relation to public
service, as is suggested, would liberate
not hamper individual energy and free-
dom of private enterprise, for it would
permit the free expression of self-
interest unified in the commonweal.
Also it would, without conflict, fa-
cilitate the full and socially useful out-
flow of the three vigorous forms of
life energy — Strength, Skill, Cunning.
From this co-ordinated Army of
Science, Technology, and Skill should
be selected (by a process of realized
capability and recognized social worth)
a representative and comprehensive
National Council of Scientists as Man-
aging Directors — our Supreme Social
This National Council should be the
apex of the Nation's Industrial Man-
agement. It should constitute the
Leadership of our thus rationalized
But this reconstruction — revolu-
tionary as it doubtless will appear to
many — is only preparation for our
It would, indeed, make of us an or-
ganized human aggregation — a unified
social machine, capable of intelligent
self-conscious national life; and then
comes the question:
For what worthy purpose have we
constructed this huge highly organized
This problem a Nation — no less
than an individual — unescapably faces,
the instant it has become really self-
It is the Nation's first, its final, its
only problem — the final problem of
And this all-important matter, every
Nation (like every individual) must
settle for itself — settle between itself
and Universal Rationality: The ob-
ject of the Nation's being; its con-
scious rational purpose — its National
Fernwald, Berkeley, January, 1919.
SHOULD THE DESTINY OF THE NATION
BE LEFT TO CHANCE?
Ways and Means
To Gain Industrial Democracy.
By William Henry Smyth
NOTE: — In the two preceding essays Mr. Smyth forecasts a new form
of government that he calls "Technocracy" — National Industrial Man-
agement. This article discusses ways and means to develop, guide and di-
rect purposive industrial democracy and so usher in a new commonwealth.
The author suggests three practical thoughts for economic reconstruc-
tion: That permitting chance to influence our lives and conditions means
ignorance. That the flow of time is not reversible — the future cannot help
the present. That cause and effect, not whim, is the law in nature's pro-
cesses. — Editor.
Democracy and Autocracy are the
antitheses of social organization and
express opposite underlying principles
of human interaction.
The structural details of any human
contrivance — whether Mechanical or
Sociological — must be in keeping with
its underlying idea. Change in prin-
ciple necessarily entails functional re-
organization — reconstruction.
Hence, ways and means that have
proved effective for autocracy, or that
long usage has shaped to facilitate
its aims and outcomes, must needs be
not only unworkable in, but subversive
of, democracy. So it will be helpful
in our quest to keep constantly and
clearly in mind the differences be-
tween these mutually exclusive no-
tions of Government.
Probably the most radical difference
between 'these two forms of social
structures is the assumed sources from
which each gets its authority.
Autocracy derives its powers from
"God." This assumption pre-supposes
inherent social distinctions between
individuals — occult privileges con-
ferred upon some to control the acts
of others. But effectively to control
acts makes requisite control of
thoughts, for consecutive thought
necessarily precedes purposive action.
Thus Autocracy implies a "God-
given" right of censorship over other
men's physical and mental function-
ing. Hence, it also pre-supposes the
non-neutrality of Nature — cosmic-
favoritism; for clearly nature's "God"
could not look with favor upon dis-
obedience or lack of submission to the
mandates of His authorized agents.
A social organization framed upon
this general idea implies constructive
details, i. e., customs, laws, institutions
— economics — comprising:
1. A Supreme Control element, de-
riving its authority from and respon-
sible only to a super-mundane source.
2. Social instrumentalities to en-
force obedience — physically coerce hu-
man actions, and super-naturally con-
trol men's thoughts.
3. A descending series of conferred
authority starting with the "God-ap-
pointed Ruler" and ending with the
popular "masses" void of rights.
Thus the measure of efficiency in
this social system is the absoluteness
of control — completeness of en-
forced obedience in act and subservi-
ence in thought to the "God-inspired
will" of the Autocrat and his Agents.
Democracy derives its authority
from Man. This pre-supposes general
intelligence sufficient at least for self-
conscious Individual wants and Mass
purposes, with freedom for their pur-
suit; thus it assumes super-mundane
non-interference with human wants
and purposes, and a rational Cosmic
Order corresponding or co-ordinated
to human intelligence in suchwise as
to be knowable and responsive there-
A social system based upon this gen-
eral idea implies constructive details
in consonance with:
1. The neutrality of nature.
2. Inherent individual rights flowing
from the facts of rational human ex-
3. Equality of individual rights.
Thus the measure of efficiency in a
Democracy is to be gaged by the com-
pleteness of individual freedom of
thought and liberty of action in rela-
tion to eaeli other and of access to
nature's stores, resources and forces —
freedom and liberty being based upon
rationality as determined by work-
ability in the production of general
human happiness, prosperity and op-
portunity for self-development.
Autocracy is based upon the idea
of the essential manship (i. e. man-
likeness) of "God" and the inher-
ent unrighteousness — irrationality — of
Democracy is based upon the idea
of the essential God-ship (i. e. God-
likeness) of Man and the inherent
righteousness — rationality — of the Uni-
Thus we get a clear concept of our
chosen social Ideal, and from it indi-
cations as to the character of means
appropriate to or discordant therewith.
In other words we have on broad lines,
bases for rational economic conven-
tions, adapted to make effective a so-
cial system on the basic principles of
Neither by mutual agreement, -nor
by legal enactment, nor constitutional
provision, nor even as a concession
to ancient custom and universal con-
sent may we make two units and two
units constitute five units — being con-
trary to the facts of nature. For pre-
cisely the same reasons we cannot (by
any or all of these social expedients)
successfully adopt or retain economic
devices at variance with the essential
principles of Democracy.
Industrial Democracy — Purpose.
Autocracy and Democracy are both
merely forms of human organization,
group contrivances — social machines —
built on different basic ideas or prin-
ciples; machines to accomplish some-
A Nation (no less than an individ-
ual) that would build (or '"recon-
struct") without first clearly deter-
mining the purpose of the proposed
structure, would be indulging in
a foolish and futile waste of en-
ergy. But what our national purpose
is, is quite apart from the present in-
quiry. And, indeed, it is not the prov-
ince of an individual, but of consensus
to determine the ultimate National Ob-
The people of the United States
have, however, agreed and decided
upon the idea of the National Or-
ganization and its proximate charac-
ter — Industrial Democracy. Or
perhaps this outcome represents the
resultant of choice and circumstance.
Be that as it may, we are now con-
sciously launched on a career of
mechanistic Industrial Democracy;
and the aim of the present inquiry
is to investigate the functional con-
sistency (appropriateness) of the
working parts to the accepted prin-
ciple of the National Social Machine.
Neutral Nature. —
The greatest and most consequence-
breeding thought that has ever found
lodgement in the human mind is the
idea that: Nature is neutral toward
Man and in regard to all Human con-
The greatest and most conse-
quential human discovery is': The
Orderliness — rationality— of Nature.
These two concepts are the mar-
velously fruitful germs from which
all modern Science has developed.
And, as exact science — based upon
experimental proof — owes its con-
tinued development to machines of
precision; it may with ultimate sig-
nificance be said that our idea and
Ideal of Human Liberty, self-govern-
ment, as we today conceive it, is
one of the many wonderful products
of the machine shop — our Mechan-
Motor Impulse of Autocracy.
Man's soul is free, hence Rational
Liberty is his social motor impulse.
Clearly, with an anthropomorphic
"God" interested in human wants,
wishes, purposes, and projects, and
with unlimited power and inclination
to meddle in human concerns, to
help or hinder, to make or mar them;
human "freedom of thought" would
be futile, and human "liberty of ac-
tion" a farce.
We have seen that the motor im-
pulse of Autocracy is super-mundane
in origin; its initiative is super-
human; its means are mysterious
occult powers derived from "above";
that privilege maintained by ruthless
force and cunning is an essential
element; and power absolute and
humanly irresponsible is its objec-
These factors therefore present
some criteria wherewith to gauge
the validity of present economic con-
ventions; also to test their appropri-
ateness in a Democracy,, the basis of
which is human experience energized
by individual human initiative; like-
wise to measure their probable worth
in a society in which the powers
to do, and the opportunity to be,
are derived from the consensus _ of
free and equal human wills; wills
subject to none, but co-operating to
facilitate individual and mutual pur-
poses — purposes socially unified in
the purposive National Will.
In the light of Modern Science,
human experience shows that Na-
ture's dealings with Man carry no
more moral or ethical significance
than id the problems of Practical
Mechanics. Scientifically enlightened
experience teaches that Humanity
alone is ethical or takes account
Impartially the sun warms and
scorches, blesses or blasts; brings
famine and plenty, life and death.
The sea, the wind, earthquake and
torrent, and all the forces of Nature
build and destroy, with utter disre-
gard to Man or his handiworks, his
hopes or his faiths, his motives or
his morals. The wondrous mechan-
ism of Creative Evolution performs its
myriad functions no less oblivious to
Man's existence than are the ponder-
ous machines of Man's own devising.
Nature, like them, fosters or over-
whelms with heedless indifference;
ruthless, pitiless, appalling to ignor-
ance, error, and fear; but helpful, in-
dulgent, obedient to knowledge,
intelligence and courage; neither
kind nor cruel, nor good, nor bad —
In the past, with childlike faith we
have relied for support and guidance
in human affairs upon the assumed
beneficence of occult Powers. Upon
this basis, Autocracy is the only con-
ceivable form of social organization.
Yet, the autocratic idea and Ideal
has proven, (in the opinion of many),
to be a disastrous failure under mod-
ern conditions; and we in the United
States have decided to try its
antithesis — Democracy.
But while discarding the old for
the new Ideal, we have, most illog-
ically, retained — substantially un-
changed — the effective conventions,
the ways and means, of the old
And now, with modern Science and
Mechanics — hindered and hampered
at all points by our futile and in-
appropriate "Economic System" — we
are fighting for National life and
Democracy against efficiently or-
ganized Autocracy. Not alone the
Autocracy of organized military force
but also the Autocracy of system-
atized and unified financial Cunning.
Thus the urgent need for scientific
reconstruction of our whole social
system is multiplied manyfold, if we
are to rectify our past sins against
reason and retrieve our pitiful social
Modern Dependence on Machinery.
The life of the ordinary modern
man differs from that of all previous
times in his peculiar dependence upon
complicated machinery — machinery
over which he exercises no personal
control. The manifold activities
which in past times depended upon
individual muscular effort are now
performed by prime movers and
power driven machines, so that the
individual man's work and effort is
unmeaning and useless apart from
these instrumentalities of life and
Thus the United States is one huge
mechanistic industrial workshop..
The organization of these com-
plex, specialized, power-driven mech-
anisnis and the sources of power and
of the raw materials with and upon
which they operate, together with
the distribution of the output, are
the functions of Scientific and Tech-
nical Industrial Management.
There should be, it would seem,
no room or occasion in such an ar-
rangement, for chance, mystery or
That the average individual prefers
old customs to new, helps to account
for much that is strange in present
conditions; but it fails to explain
completely how it happens that
occultism has been wholly banished
from the Machine Shop — the Social
Producing Element — and remains so
conspicuously interwoven in out
"Economics" — the Social Distributive
It would seem that we are com-
pelled to assume that our deep seated
human instinct of self-interest is the
controlling factor in maintaining this
incongruous combination of Science
It would seem that the cunning
acquisitive instinct of certain excep-
tionally alert minded men in the com-
munity — taking advantage of the
normal preference of the average man
for old ways and customs, and his
preoccupation in his favorite work-
ings and doings — is employing these
ancient and familiar, usages to befog
and obscure the stealthy diversion of
an undue proportion of the Commun-
If this be so, it should be interest-
ing to glance at the ways and means,
the prestidigitatorial bag-o-tricks by
which it is accomplished. Later we
will scrutinize them more closely and
in greater detail.
Money and Credit.
The bases of Mechanics in all its
simple and complex expressions are
two commonplace elements — the
Wedge and the Lever; the bases of
our Economic and Financial System
in all its curious manifestations are
also two commonplace elements —
"Money" and "Credit."
Here the similarity ends.
There is not on ordinary fourteen-
year-old school boy in the United
States but who knows and intelli-
gently uses the wedge and lever; and
there does not exist a Mechanical
Expert who could reasonably ques-
tion the practical accuracy of the
boy's knowledge regarding these
elements of mechanics.
Under our present economic us-
ages, customs and laws, each one of
us — man, woman and child — is com-
pelled, willy-nilly, to use daily and
hourly some form of "money" and
"credit"; and there is not in the world
a man who understands either of
these economic elements, as the
boy knows the wedge and lever.
Nor is there an Economic Specialist
or Financial Expert whose attempted
explanation of either "money" or
"credit" (or the functions of either)
whose supposed elucidation would
not be ridiculed and controverted by
a multitude of Economic and Mone-
tary Experts of equal or greater au-
The average man of affairs — Law-
yer, Doctor, Editor, Tradesman, Mer-
chant or Mechanic — freely admits his
incapacity to understand the "mys-
teries of finance," and frankly says:
"I don't know a damn thing about
it." Even Bankers and Brokers,
Financiers and Economists, whose
business it is to deal in and mani-
pulate these most remarkable com-
modities, will quite frequently make
the same honest confession of ignor-
ance. Indeed, the subject is common
stock in the jokesmith's workshop.
Mystery, Magic — Failure.
In no other department of human
interest is so much mystery, confu-
sion and controversy regarding the
basic "facts" and assumptions, except
possibly institutional religion — which,
avowedly, rests upon the miraculous
and supernatural. Indeed, the paral-
lelism between these two ancient ac-
tivities is curiously complete. Both
transcend human experience, and
neither submits to the tests of Sci-
ence — weighing, measuring, cause-
and-effect experimental proof.
Like our religious forms, our Eco-
nomic System is hoary with age — a
survival from ancient Babylonian cus-
toms. It rests on assumptions un-
sanctioned by science; its effects are
causeless; the miraculous supersedes
natural causation; mystery takes the
place of human reason; and endless
futurity is its heavenly storehouse of
all humanly desirable things.
A Thievish Process.
From this miraculous store the
"Wizard of Finance," with his wonder-
working wand — "Credit" — filches back
(for a slight present tangible con-
sideration and without the owners'
consent) the imagined products of
imagined future toil of unborn gen-
erations of workers — a doubly thievish
process, as black in morals as in
While supposedly representing life-
less things (that wear out by use),
"money" is conventionally endowed
(by financial magic) with everlasting
life, and also with life's unique func-
tion — reproduction. So "M oney
makes money" for ever and ever —
for the Magician.
Peace, super-abundance, and endless
idleness — "retirement from business" —
is "the Promised Land, flowing with
milk and honey" of Economic Saint-
hood — the earthly Heaven of "Fi-
But . . ! Never was work
more urgent nor idleness less com-
mon; never was peace more scarce nor
strife so universal; the labor of future
generations has been crazily "mort-
gaged" by thievish "economic" (!)
conventions beyond all possibility of
redemption (in spite of the fact that
science and mechanics have multiplied
manifold the effectiveness and produc-
tiveness of present labor); and Man's
present vocation is social suicide — the
destruction of wealth and the slaugh-
ter of his fellow men!
A stupendous and tragic record of
"Economic" folly and failure!.
The Mechanic's Philosophy — Success.
The "God" of our nursery tradi-
tion has been banished from the Ma-
chine Shop and the world of Me-
chanics. The result of this courage-
ous spiritual Declaration of Indepen-
dence has been our "Conquest of Na-
ture," our Age of Productive Indus-
Seemingly a like rending of thought
shackles, a similar breaking of mental
prison bars, is needed in the realm of
The "God of Chance" or "God's
mysterious providence" — which per-
mits the killing of a President by a
madman; the obliteration of a great
city by fire; the sinking of a huge pas-
senger-ship in mid-ocean; and a
world-war — are merely misleading
euphemisms for human ignorance,
human improvidence, and childish
shirking of responsibility.
Social conventions — our Economic
and Financial system — which by
"money magic" make these "chance"
catastrophes into controlling factors
in the distribution of the product of
human effort, are simply tragic
monuments to ignorant superstition,
mental laziness, and criminal folly.
Indeed, our whole "Economic Sys-
tem" is so incredibly unscientific,
so irrational, so utterly puerile,
that, were it not for custom-
induced mental myopia, its glaring
absurdities would long ago have suf-
ficed — without a world-war — to shock
our moral sense and intelligence into
When scientific imagination and
knowledge of Nature's Laws are sub-
stituted in our economics for chance,
mystery, and magic; when the regu-
lation of our Nation-wide industry is
taken out of the hands of quib-
b 1 i n g "lawyers", and nature's
forces, resources, and the mechanical
instrumentalities for their transforma-
tion into human necessaries and de-
sirables are no longer the play-things
of money-juggling gamblers, and the
products of Nature and Mechanic Arts
no longer glut the instinctive craving
of Acquisitive Cunning; when this
economic childish irrationality is
sanely substituted by organized
Science, Technology, and specialized
Skill co-ordinated in National Indus-
trial Management, then will begin real
civilization, the Age of Social Sanity,
"Chance" in Economics.
A machine is certain in action and
uniform in output, because scientific
imagination has foreseen, and con-
structive intelligence has provided for,
the elimination of the "chance" ele-
The forces which will devastate the
results of man's industry, through the
"natural" action of an uncontrolled
torrential stream, (with equal uncon-
cern) if scientifically directed, will
make the same country-side teem with
human happiness — but, not by
"chance." In like manner, the same
"natural" social forces which make
poverty, wretchedness, and vice, will
(with equal unconcern) produce the
opposite results — but never by
Human institutions founded upon
"chance" merely express Man's brute-
unintelligence. That our "Economic
System" makes "chance" a controlling
factor for the distribution of wealth,
merely shows the persistence of ignor-
ance and that old habits of thought
are more compelling than modern in-
telligence. To legalize "chance" delib-
erately is to relinquish our Godlike
control over the results of Nature's
processes, and thus voluntarily enslave
ourselves to ruthless Nature, and to
abandon even our authority over the
outcomes of our own actions. Hence,
it would seem, that the first step to-
ward a new and Rational Economics is
a courageous declaration of our free-
dom from tyranny of the insensate
"God of Chance."
When a Mechanic has decided upon
an idea or principle as the basis of a
proposed machine, he has exercised his
rational freedom of choice. Regard-
less of whether his choice is wise or
not (in this decision) he has placed
definite limits upon the range of sub-
sequent selection in regard to detail
instrumentalities. Indeed, he has en-
tered into an implied contract — as-
sumed a rational responsibility — to em-
ploy only such means in the construc-
tion of his machine as (in accord with
"Universal Order) are appropriate to
make effective his proposed mechanical
contrivance; with failure as the pen-
alty for wilful or ignorant error —
breach of his implied contract.
History demonstrates conclusively
that races, nations, civilizations (equal-
ly with individuals), are subject to the
same rational limitations, are bound
by the same responsibility, and incur
the same penalty for wilful or ignorant
error in exercising their human free-
dom of choice.
Out Last Warning!
The practical difficulties of forestall-
ing the hazards of birth, of death, and
of disaster, are doubtless great, and
the problem of eliminating the
"chance" element from our economic
system is a man-sized job — with a slim
probability of complete success. But,
it is reasonably certain, that, if courage
to make the needed change is lacking,
or if our intelligence is insufficient
for the task, our social adventure in
Democracy will prove a tragedy. And
the world war is, I believe, our last
Nor may we drift; laisser faire is
lazy fear — cowardly re-submission to
the dog-eat-dog jungle law, right-of
might principle of Nature — and of Au-
tocracy — from which our modern con-
science has revolted.
While caution bids us pause and
realize that Nature is ruthless in its
punishment of ignorance and error,
courage reminds us that Nature also is
infinitely lavish in its rewards for
knowledge and intelligence; and cour-
age points to the Practical Mechanic
as an exemplar and an object-lesson
for the Social Constructor.
Mechanic vs. Nature
The Mechanic has courageously in-
vaded Nature's guarded realm; has ac-
cepted her "no quarter" terms; and
has assumed complete responsibility
for his revolt against all the ancient
He has tacitly assumed that "God"
and "Nature" are supremely and pre-
eminently self-sufficing; that these all-
inclusive profundities utterly trans-
cend the utmost limits of his acts or
his art — that the "plans of God" and
the Mechanic's problems cannot in
He predicates that "God" and "Na-
ture" are limitlessly competent to care
for their own infinite concerns; hence,
that His problems involve only what
the Mechanic wants, and not "the
wants of God." In so far as concerns
his art (and with reverence for Uni-
versal Order, which makes his art pos-
sible) the Mechanic, in effect, says:
"This I will," "Thus I do." "I am
the Earth-god of things, of matter,
and of motion."
The Mechanic's Achievements
And how gloriously has the Me-
chanic made good!
Even the most most cursory survey
of his accomplishments, in manufac-
ture, in transportation, in communica-
tion, in reclamation, in power utiliza-
tion generally, staggers while it exalts
Has he not with wheat and corn
from Eastern steppe and Western
prairie, and with fresh and wholesome
meat from the Antipodes, fed the hun-
gry workers of Europe; and brought
from the four corners of the Earth
materials for their needs, their uses,
and their industries? Yes! And from
the teeming estuaries of the North he
has served the World's table with
dainty fish, and with wine and oil and
luscious fruit from the fertile valleys
of the Pacific Slope.
By his use of Nature's forces, he
has immeasurably out-rivalled imag-
ination's Magic Carpet, transporting
by his mechanisms untold millions of
work-weary families from cramped
and life-worn areas to the free spaci-
ousness of many wide scattered Edens
of plenty, there to found Empires.
And more, he has bound these
broadcast settlements in bonds of mu-
tual help with space-negating bands of
steel and steam; and on the one-time
pathless ocean he has marked out
highways with light and life of swift-
moving commerce, till, in the utter-
most ends of the earth, friend greets
friend as though but a mile from
home. Seas no longer separate, nor
continents divide, for Man now talks
with Man as face to face across the
As with a broom, he has swept sul-
len ocean back" to its deeps and bared
Netherland's fertile plains; and wMi
dvke, and mill, and pump he holds
his prize secure from angry wave and
wind and shifting sand. A nriz^ in-
deed! — a rich and pro c <~>prous country
of towns and villages, of farms and
homesteads, all interlr~ed with road
and rail and placid water-way; a hive
of human industry — a kingdom
snatched from ocean's grasp.
In torrid Egypt, too, he has tamed
the turgid Nile to flood the desert
sands and made thereof a nation's
He has moved mountains, split
continents, harnessed Niagaras to his
machines; subdued the land, triumph-
ed over the sea, and now seeks do-
minion of the air.
And, East and West and North
and South he has sluiced and swept
with giant streams the high-piled
gravels, and ript and smashed and
ground to powder, fine as from the
mills of the gods, mountains of
crystalline quartz; and dredged, and
plowed, and sifted the frozen Arctic
tundra, to tear from reluctant Earth
its golden treasure for counters
wherewith to play Man's world-wide
The Economist's Failure.
All this stupendous output of hu-
man experience, human reason, hu-
man industry — rivalling creation itself
— is in startling contrast with our
world-wide tragedy, the outcome of
our world-wide economics. A con-
trast doubly significant; significant
in the entire absence of chance, of
mystery, of magic from the work of
the mechanic; and again as expres-
sing the practical extremes of glori-
ous success and of failure most tragic.
The human mind, like the body,
can advance only step by step, from
the solid ground of the known and
tested to the doubtful footing of the
unfamiliar. Human progress is like
adventuring through a morass of
ignorance' toward a far-distant goal;
with disaster the penalty for every
In the great adventure called "Hu-
man Progress" the "Occult" has
proved a will-o-the-wisp guide.
Notwithstanding all the stupend-
ous accomplishments which charac-
terize productive industry and the
present era as the Age of Mechanics,
the process which has brought it all
about, is the same step-by-step —
proof by experiment — scientific
method. We can think of the new
and unknown only in terms of the
old and familiar.
Still errors detected and fallacies
perceived arc guides for inventive
synthesis — construction.
Selection is but a process of in-
verted rejection. So having deter-
mined that our ideal social structure
is the antithesis of the Autocratic idea,
we may with confidence assume that
the characteristic elements of Auto-
cracy are inappropriate for our pur-
pose. Thus by a process of (selec-
tive) rejection we should arrive at
economic expedients more in har-
mony with our Social Ideal.
Democracy vs. Anarchy.
Universal Order is the key-note of
modern Science; and upon this order-
liness of Nature scientific thinking
is based. Hence, the much abused
phrases "human liberty" and "hu-
man freedom" cannot imply anarchy
or chaos, i. e. dis-order.
Liberty means absence of irrational
Freedom of thought can have but
Social Freedom simply means lib-
erty for rational individual activity
tending to the accomplishment of
When a Nation — exercising its
freedom of choice — discards Autoc-
racy and selects Democracy as its
social principle it cannot sucessfully
retain the working elements of the
discarded social organization. If it is
to survive, it must adopt ways and
means and methods of life in con-
sonance with its chosen principle.
Our Futile Experiment.
The United States, like a novice
in Mechanics, has seemingly under-
taken the futile experiment of build-
ing an Industrial Democracy out of
the functional elements of Preda-
tory Autocracy. The natural result is
noise, friction and heat. And worse
— a dangerously large proportion of
our energy is wastefully expended
in constant readjustment to keep the
outfit running, and to prevent its
pounding itself into scrap. Prac-
tically the whole of our "Economic and
Financial System" is a left-over from
the days when absolutism and privilege
were universally accepted ideas and
ideals; and when magic-causation was
an unquestioned "fact." Quite natur-
ally our economic customs, conven-
tions and laws are in keeping with
these antiquated assumptions. Sub-
stantially our "Economics" is a ves-
tige, and as with other vestiges — like
our vermiform appendix — it is now
functionally useless, and frequently
causes much unnecessary pain and
trouble; which sooner or later may end
Not All Bad.
While, in the foregoing, there is no
real cause for pessimism, there is even
less reason for happy-go-lucky optim-
Mentally reviewing this matter,
there appear several implications
which stand out clearly as definite
practical suggestions for economic re-
Suggestions for Reconstruction.
First: That "chance" means ignor-
The elimination of even the crudely
obvious "chance" factors from our
laws, customs and economic conven-
tions, would do away with much rank
injustice in our social functioning.
Second: That the onward flow of
time is not reversible — the future can-
not help the present.
A clear appreciation and practical
application of this seemingly axiom-
atic proposition would go far to rem-
edy the grosser evils of capitalistic
economics, and strip "money" and
"credit" of their conventionally en-
dowed time-reversing magic.
In every physical human accom-
plishment, there are involved but
three factors or elements: raw Ma-
terial (Nature's free gift); human
Time; human Energy. Every product
(food, clothing, housing, transporta-
tion facilities, or what not), represents
a definite amount of past human time
and past human energy — gone beyond
recall. Neither by ghostly hands nor
by flibber-gib financial conventions can
future work or future product be
yanked back into the present, to be
used for present purposes, or to meet
gencies — even if self-re-
spect and common honesty did not suf-
fice to prevent such inexcusable cam-
ouflaged robbery of the helpless, the
quintessence of "taxation without rep-
Third: That cause-and-effect, not
whim, is the order of Nature's pro-
Science shows us that, so far as Man
is concerned, Nature is infinite poten-
tialities; potentialities realizable in
terms of individual and collective pur-
poses. We cap. if we will- — providing
our aims and objectives are in accord
(lie Rational Order of Nature.
It is only in purposive action that
n freedom — self-determination —
An aimless man or a purposeless
"nation" is an equally insignificant
Lent of raw material in Nature's
Evolutionary and Devolutionary pro-
cesses. But, knowledge of Nature and
of Nature's Laws co-ordinated by Hu-
man Intelligence in rationally purpos-
ive actions, have all of Nature's in-
finite potentialities and stupendous
forces as tools to facilitate accom-
Obviously the control of our Great
National Workshop — the United States
— should not be in the hands
of selfish Mr.' Acquisitive Cunning —
"who knows the price of everything
and the value of nothing" — facile only
in getting something for nothing — and
whose highest social ideal is: "To buy
cheap and sell dear"; but — in reason,
in common horse sense! — our purpos-
ive Industrial Democracy should be
guided and directed by nationally or-
ganized and co-ordinated specialists in
all the branches of Skill, Technology,
and Science which are involved in its
Social Life and requisite to the suc-
cessful accomplishment of its Great
Fernwald, Berkeley, February, 1919.
IS THE ONWARD FLOW OF TIME REVERSIBLE
BY HUMAN CONVENTION?
Skill Economics for Industrial Democracy.
By William Henry Smyth
Note — In the previous essays of this series the author shows that men's
characterizing activities express certain instincts or instinctive urges and
that human societies (nations) today consist of uncoordinated groups, each
bent upon gratifying its predominating instinctive urge — at the expense
of other groups and regardless of the common weal. He proposes as a
remedy for this social strife a plan of National Co-ordination — r^cy.
This article discusses some of the important phases more in detail,
with constructive suggestions for the elimination of "chance," "mystery,"
and "magic" from our present economic processes, the substitution of
intelligent purposive ways and means for haphazard methods; and for
self-interested autocratic control, the substitution of Scientific Leadership
organized for the accomplishment of consensus National Objectives. — Editor
Our Nationwide Machine Shop.
Attempting to make a robust man
conform to nursery usages and
swaddling clothes conventions would
be no more absurd than our present
efforts to conduct Twentieth ' Cen-
tury life on the Hunter and Shecp-
r customs of our racial infancy.
Indeed, it would be less preposter-
ous than our continued efforts (de-
spite tragic experience) to have law-
yers and gamblers run our nationwide
Machine Shop by methods and i
conventions not differing essentially
from ancient Babylonish laws of King
Hamurabi and economic customs in
vogue two thousand years before
Human ^society started with Brute-
force Economics, suitable to Cave-
man — Hunter and Fighter — times.
Then humanity advanced through the
Pastoral — animal breeder — stage, be-
ing therein confronted, socially and
economically, with the awe-inspiring
marvel of phallic phenomena, the fear-
ful mystery of Death and the joy-
inciting miracle of Life — life with its
seemingly endless sequence of pro-
duction and reproduction.
The Animal Breeder stage of de-
velopment, indeed, seems to have left
an indelible impression; seems to have
peculiarly influenced man's mental
outlook and modified his thinking pro-
cesses so profoundly as to have
shaped even our modern business con-
ventions and daily practices — or at
least to have provided favorable
psychic habitat for our conventional
Mysticism and Symbolism.
The mind-staggering miracle of
generation seems to have thrown
primitive human thinking back upon
itself in dazed befogment — bewilder-
ment and mistunderstandihg of Na-
ture's laws, out of which confusion of
thought emerged Mysticism with its
This mental chaos of mystic sym-
bolism — the endowment of the sym-
bol (or "representative") with the
qualities and functions of the thing
symbolized — is a primordial explana-
tory perversion which still character-
izes our commonplace thinking on
monetary matters. The "power of
money" is proverbial among us; and
that "money makes money" is axio-
matic to the average man; also that
"money makes the mare go," and that
it performs many other strenuously
Money, Mortgages and Nehemiah.
Down through the ages occasion-
ally we find (both in ecclesiastic and
lay writings) clearly reasoned repro-
bation of practices based upon this
naive misinterpretation of the facts of
"The words of Nehemiah, the son of
Hacaliah" and cup bearer of Ar-
taxerxes, king of Persia, are as "mod-
ern" today as on the day they were
uttered — nearly five hundred years
And they are as applicable to the
"civilized" -world today as they were
to the kindergarten usages and anti-
social practices of our civilization's
nursery — Mesopotamia.
"Some also there were that said,
We are mortgaging our fields and our
vineyards, and our houses: let us get
corn, because of the dearth. There
were some also that said, We have
borrowed money for the king's tribute
upon our fields and our vineyards. Yet
now our flesh is as the flesh of our
brethren, our children as their chil-
dren: and lo, we bring into bondage
our sons and our daughters to be ser-
vants, and some of our daughters are
brought into bondage already; neither
is it in our power to help it; for other
men have our fields and our vineyards.
"And I was very angry when I
heard their cry and these words.
"Then I consulted with myself, and
contended with the nobles and the
rulers, (or deputies) and said unto
them, Ye exact usury, every one of
his brother. And I held a great as-
sembly against them.
"And I said unto them, We after
our ability have redeemed our breth-
ren the Jews, which were sold unto the
heathen; and would ye even sell your
brethren? and should they be sold
"Then held they their peace, and
found never a word.
"Also I said, The thing that ye
do is not good:
"And I likewise, my brethren and
my servants, do lend them money
and corn on usury. I pray you let
us leave off this usury.
"Restore, I pray you, to them, even
this day, their fields, their vineyards,
their olive yards, and their houses,
also the hundredth part of the money,
and of the corn, the wine, and the oil,
that ye exact of them.
"Then said they, We will restore
them, and require nothing of them;
so will we do, even as thou sayest.
"Then I called the priests, and took
an oath of them, that they should do
according to this promise.
Also I shook out my lap, and said,
So God shake out every man from
his house, and from his labor, that
performeth not this promise; even
thus be he shaken out, and emptied.
"And all the congregation said,
Amen, and praised the Lord.
"And the people did according to
this promise." (Nehemiah Chap. 5.)
Money, Reason and Rome.
Practical minded ancient Rome,
from whom we have learned so
much of our work-a-day jurispru-
dence — while retaining many other
gross superstitions — seems to have
rejected this animistic pecuniary
absurdity, as is shown by the familiar
expression: Money does not procreate
money — "Nummus nummum non
Money, Sheep and Shylock.
The genius of Shakespeare realized
die fatuity of this pastoral-age-
founded pecuniary delusion that
"money breeds money" (which still
obsesses our misbegotten finance
conventions), and holds it up to de-
(The Merchant of Venice — Act 1
When Jacob grazed his uncle Laban's
And what of him? Did he take
No, not take interest, not, as you
Directly interest: mark what
When Laban and himself were
That all the eanlings which were
streaked and pied
Should fall as Jacob's hire, the ewes,
In the end of autumn turned to
And, when the work of generation
Between these woolly breeders in
The skilful shepherd peel'd me
And, in the doing of the deed of
He stuck them up before the fulsome
Who then conceiving did in eaning
Fall parti-colorcd lambs, and those
This was a way to thrive, and he
And thrift is blessing, if men steal
This was a venture, sir, that Jacob
A thing not in his power to bring
But sway'd and fashion'd by the
hand of heaven.
Was this inserted to make interest
Or is your gold and silver ewes
I cannot tell; I make it breed as fast:
Magic-Mystery tinged Breeder-
economics and vocational experience
(misinterpreted) quite naturally re-
sulted in Theocracy and Theocratic-
economics; and from Theocracy the
course is straight, the steps easy and
obvious to Working-by-proxy social
systems — Privilege-economics — as
represented by Autocracy, Aris-
tocracy, and modern Plutocracy.
Thus the race has successively
adopted Strength-economics, Cun-
ning-economics, and Cunning-Strong-
economics; each system appropriate
to the conditions of life and stage
of development, in the past.
Today is the day of Doer, Work-
er, Maker — practical utilizer of
Nature by skill of hand and science-
taught brain — the Mechanic.
This is an age of applied Science —
the utilization of Nature's Laws and
forces — consequently the earlier
mystic, predatory, and parasitic
economic usages and conventions are
now antiquated and impracticable.
Hence they are beginning to revolt
our science-developed practical com-
mon sense, our sense of propriety,
and our modern sense of justice.
Furthermore, it is significantly in
accord with race experience, with
commonsense and with reason that:
Those whose activities characterize
the times, must initiate and adminis-
ter its economics.
So if our Mechanistic Age, our
Democratic Dispensation is not to
prove a futile race experiment, a
will-o-thc-wisp ideal, we must ini-
tiate Skill-economics, economics of
our Twentieth Century mechanis-
tically characterized activities — eco-
nomics of the Scientist, of the Tech-
nologist, of the Mechanic, on a
nationwide scale, in other words:
National Industrial Management —
The Mechanic's philosophy as-
sumes: the neutral orderliness of
Nature; personal freedom; and per-
sonal responsibility for the outcome
of his acts.
The Mechanic's practice is based
upon: personal initiative; self- reli-
ance; and the validity of experience.
The Mechanic's success results
from: knowledge of Nature's laws;
experimental proof; and the elim-
ination of "chance."
It is reasonable, therefore, to
assume that upon these fundamentals
also must be framed our new work-
a-day Skill-economics, in order to be
workable in our work-a-day Mechan-
As applied to our present obso-
lescent economics these principles
Elimination of Magic (as a tacitly
assumed factor) in the means and
methods of production.
Elimination of Mystery from our
means and methods of exchanging
human efforts and resulting products.
Elimination of Chance from in-
dustrial organization and distribution.
Twixt Devil and Deep Sea.
Stated as generalities, few will
question the desirability of such
changes; for it will readily be con-
ceded that "chance," "mystery," and
"magic" are merely expressions of
ignorance clothed in old and familiar
superstitions. But, when one comes
truly to realize — not just verbally
admit — how completely magic, mys-
tery, and chance are woven into the
fabric of our modern life and
thought processes, then the true sig-
nificance of the propositions strikes
the mind with a sense of shock.
We are, indeed, between the devil
and the deep sea!
Radically change we must, or our
"Civilization" will go the way of
previous abortive social experiments
— Assyria, Egypt, Phoenicia, Greece,
Rome, Spain, and . . . Europe.
Bui, characteristically, the huge
majority of us would rather be
socially damned in the good old-
fashioned way, than accept social
salvation through radical change.
Yet, if human experience proves any-
thing, it demonstrates conclusively
that irrationality cannot persist in
the rational Order of Nature.
Thus it will, perchance, be help-
ful to indicate some implications of
the suggested eliminations, by more
specific applications to present social,
economic and financial customs,
usages, and conventions.
Birth, Marriage, Death, are the
worn dice in our chuck-a-luck
Birth, in surroundings of wealth
or poverty — on Fifth Avenue or in
the Bowery — decides whether a child
shall be a Master or a Servant, an
owner or a slave, a nationally con-
trolling factor or one of a million
mere "cogs," regardless of inherent
fitness to the "chance" ordained
position, or to further the aims of
Marriage, under our quaint eco-
nomic conventions, decides into
whose hands shall be entrusted
power represented by vast accumula-
tions of wealth, regardless of the
chances that the easily acquired
wealth may be frivolously squan-
dered or used adversely to national
Death, with sardonic Irrelevance,
plays skittles with the lives of the
living; for our weirdly jocund "laws
of devise" empower dead hands
from the grave to control thousands
of living men's activities.
Makers and Takers.
Under our "economic and finance
system" to be born into our Mechan-
istic Ape with mechanical and con-
structive traits — dextrous hands, inge-
nious brain, and irresistible instinctive
urge to do, to work, to make the
things which constitute our "wealth" —
is to be fore-doomed by "chance" to
lifelong obscurity, social impotence,
and relative poverty; while to be born
with instinctive acquisitive cunning
and insatiable greed, is to be elected
by "chance" to social distinction,
ii and power.
Indeed, it would seem, that of all
the facts, circumstances, and incidents,
constituting present conditions of hu-
life, "blind chance" has irration-
ally been selected as the controlling
factor in that antiquated collection of
queer customs, quaint conventions and
grotesque superstitions, that, with
childish fatuity, we call our "Science
of Economics and Finance."
Magic — Ancient and Modern.
To gage the folly of earlier ages
by our own advance is an easy and
vanity satisfying diversion; to correct-
asure the ignorance and super-
stition of our own times is a hopeless
Thus we look back with smiling con-
tempt upon Devil-raising, Soul-
selling, Fountain-of-youth, Witch's-
broomstick, and other wondrous para-
phernalia of "Black Art." And yet, no
itial difference exists between the
old witchcraft, by which a "magic po-
tion" added years to human life, and
modern "financial" black art which
gives everlasting life to inanimate
"capital" and endows lifeless "money"
with life's unique function — reproduc-
tion — so that "money makes money"'
for ever and ever. Indeed, of the two
the modern magic causation is the
more crudely illogical and unscientific;
for while the ancient black art only
purported to prolong life already ex-
isting, modern financial magic pre-
to perform the still greater
miracle of infusing life into inanimate
Do I seem to exaggerate?
Then read what Economic High
Priest Boehm-Bawerk says in his
"Capital and Interest — A Critical His-
tory of Economic Theory"; says seri-
ously, supremely unconscious that he
is describing a crazily impossible mir-
acle — a miracle, however, in which
there is a substantially universal con-
sensus of ignorant belief.
"And finally it (interest) flows to
the capitalist without ever exhausting
the capital from which it conies, and
therefore without any necessary limit
to its continuance. It is, if one may
use such an expression about mundane
things, capable of an everlasting life.
Thus it is that the phenomenon of in-
terest as a whole presei
able picture of a lifeless thin
ing an everlasting and inexhaustible
supply of goods."
Was ever gross superstitious ignor-
ance or "black art" more crassly
at variance with facts iture's
Laws or the S
Mechanics, than this self-filling "magic
purse" of financial wizardry?
Time Turned Tailward!
If there is one fact in human ex-
perience, the validity of which is
yond question, it is that the onward
flow of Time is non-reversible, the fu-
ture cannot help the present.
We can change the direction of mo-
tion in i hings — back up a
horse, a train, or a boat, or even in
some instances reverse the flow of a
river; but to turn back the inexorable
forward march of Time is unthinkable.
To suggest shooting the
with future bullets and feeding our
soldier boys with future food— substi-
tuting "future savings" (!) of future
generations tor present savings and
present work, seems — to a Mechanic —
like the insane imaginings of a magic-
Yet, these are the stupendous mir-
acles which the "magic of finance" se-
riously purports to accomplish — for a
small present consideration.
Do I seem to exaggerate?
Then read the serious proposal of
Financial Wizard Frank A. Vander-
lip, President of the National City
Bank of New York.
"This war must be financed, not out
of past savings, but out of future sav-
ings. Future savings are for the mo-
ment not available and some other
device must therefore be brought into
play. That device is bank credit, and
this loan and subsequent loans will in
the main be floated through an expan-
sion of credit."
Truly human credulity is limitless —
or the day of witchcraft and miracles
is not past!
Futilities of Magic.
Never in one solitary instance, in all
the hundreds of years and millions of
sacrificial victims, did entrails of
slaughtered animals foretell a future
happening; never did any of the armies
of Devils and "familiar spirits," in-
voked by magic incantations, effect
arthly result which would not
otherwise have occurred; never was
solitary grain of gold transmuted from
metal by the magic of the
myriads of guaranteed "Philosopher's
acles happen — except in the distorted
s of the simple ones who
ians for their futilities.
And the poor boobs who "paid the
piper" didn't know any more about
magic then, than the average man of
today who franl erts: "I don't
know a damned thing about Econom-
ics and Finance."
Recalling practical warlike Rome,
fighting her world-conquering battles
or refraining from attack on the au-
gury of fowl's entrails; remembering
philosophical Greece conducting her
civil, military, and economic affairs up-
on the assumed guidance of similar
irrationalities; not forgetting that in
comparatively recent times, by "sell-
ing indulgences," — dealing in "future
savings," "treasures in heaven," i. e.,
"floating (super-mundane) credit" —
and by commerce in other optimistic
and supposititious commodities, "the
Church" acquired legal ownership to
over half of the land and wealth of
England; not overlooking the fact that
by similar supposititious means mod-
ernized, the Mormon Church of the
Latter Day Saints has become one of
the wealthiest and 'socially most pow-
erful capitalistic corporations in our
midst today; calmly and dispassionate-
ly turning these facts over in the
mind, causes one to pause and reflect.
Indeed, mentally reviewing this ages
long and unquestionable historical ev-
idence, one — embued with modern
scientific notions — begins to wonder.
Questions and Doubts.
One wonders how "dollars" or
"debts" can be magically endowed
How magically endowed with "ever-
How magically endowed with the
capability of unending reproduction?
— "a lifeless thing producing an ever-
lasting and inexhaustible supply of
And thus wondering, one questions
and doubts. . . .
Can it be that the "miracles of fi-
nance" and the "magic of credit" are
of a piece with the ancient miracles and
magic? — only, (in keeping with the
h. c. 1.) gone up in cost to the simple
ones who pay for the "miraculous"
But what a cost!
Science and Mechanics have multi-
plied manifold the productive effect of
human effort during the past century,
so that the resulting products and in-
strumentalities of production have in-
creased in like ratio.
So the question naturally arises as
to what disposition has been made
of this great aggregation of National
Commissariat Stores in the United
States under our alleged "economic"
How have the "Financiers" — our
book-keepers — kept tab on the "debits
How have they (numerically less
than one per cent) distributed this
product of the combined work of the
twenty million families that, in round
numbers, constitute (the other ninety-
nine per cent of )the population?
The Balance Sheet.
In round numbers the books show:
$250,000,000,000— "wealth" ;
$70,000,000,000— gross "profits"; di-
$50,000,000,000— "income" to the
$20.000,000,000— "wage" to the fam-
$1,000 — average family "wage."
Thus the balance sheet shows that
the self-selected and socially irrespon-
sible score-keepers — the "Financiers"
— have apportioned the gross yearly
"profits" of the United States National
Industrial Enterprise in the ratio of
five-sevenths to themselves and two-
sevenths to the 20 million families.
"Business" and Instincts.
In the jargon of "Business," "the
Financiers" "charge" fifty billion dol-
lars ($50,000,000,000) yearly for "fi-
nanciering" the United States.
That is to say: "The Interests" as-
sess the People of the United States
fifty billion dollars ($50,000,000,000)
"interest" tribute yearly, in perpetuity,
for permitting the people the privilege
of practicing national honest}- — and
for the magic of (mysteriously con-
In other words: "The Capitalists"
tax the People of the United States
fifty billion dollars ($50,000,000,000)
yearly for permitting the People the
privilege of utilizing the Nation's hu-
man and other natural resources — and
for (the miracles of) "Capitalization."
In simple terms of human instincts:
The Instinctive Takers take the In-
stinctive Makers' makings for permitt-
ing the Makers to make the Nation's
natural raw materials into desirable
Feeding and Breeding.
The families must, of course, be
fed and clothed and housed, and the
children schooled, — or the supply of
Makers would soon peter out.
For these unavoidable necessities
the "Financiers" allow, on an average,
a thousand dollars a year per family;
a "bare living wage" in exchange for
a whole year of the brief work-life
(of twenty odd years), for life-energy
irrecoverably used up in making the
wealth; wealth out of which bare sus-
tenance is all that goes to its Makers.
Worse and More of It.
Nor is this all, nor the worst.
It deals with things only, now in
existence. And it refers to an appor-
tionment of the gross "profits" ar-
rived at (more or less) by our own
But, — by the wondrous working of
"Credit" — the "Financiers" have vir-
tually pawned (in their own pawn
shop) the whole Industrial World!
The "Financiers" have placed a per-
petual mortgage plaster of at least one
thousand billion dollars ($1,000,000,-
000,000) on the work and products of
unborn generations of the hundred
million families constituting the
The "Financiers" have chained thus
a $10,000 debt, paying "interest" trib-
ute of $2.00 per day (for ever) upon
the back of each and every family in
the "civilized world" — a perpetual
thraldom of debt; debt secured by
"Bonds," by "Mortgage," by "Capi-
talization" and by "National Debt"
The "Financiers" have thus placed
this huge mortgage debt (in perpet-
uity) upon future generations with-
out their consent — the most stupend-
ous case of tyrannous "taxation with-
out representation" in all the dark
ages long tragic experience of long
What petty "Pikers" were the Shy-
locks of old Nchcmiah's day compared
to our . . . our . . . "Financiers"^.
Poverty is the opposite of riches;
debt the negation of wealth; bank-
ruptcy the reverse of solvency; they
are antithetical — the plus and minus
signs of human interaction in the
world of "Business."
A modern man, by the aid of scienti-
fic and mechanistic instrumentalities,
accomplishes more today than one-,
two-, and in some cases ten-score men
of a hundred years ago; so, despite
war and every other destructive
agency, production outstrips bare
need today as at no time in the past.
The world is constantly increasing
its total products.
Yet, notwithstanding these facts,
the richer the world grows, the more
it owes — both relatively and actually;
the greater its wealth, the deeper it
is plunged in debt.
Thus, under the regime of capitalis-
tic "High Finance," is achieved the
crowning paradox of all time — the
acme of miraculous causation:
The functions of plus and minus are
reversed; more is less! The larger
a thing grows the smaller it becomes!
The more efficient men get, the less
effective relatively is the outcome!
The faster the world cistern is filled
with wealth the more nearly empty
it is, — the more completely is the
White World bankrupt!!
The ancient miracle of "the
widow's cruse" is inverted — by mod-
ern Financial Magic.
An Old Delusion.
Now it is not intended to impute
deliberately dishonest or intentionally
unethical methods to our Financiers
and Capitalists, under a vague and
metaphorical term, "Magic." On the
contrary, I use the word "magic" in
its ordinary meaning — supernatural
I am convinced that the great ma-
jority of us — capitalist and laborer
alike — are still obsessed with the fal-
lacy of magic causation; an ancient
delusion that has dominated men's
minds and befogged their thinking
from the very beginning of man's
efforts to explain the causes of un-
"Magic" is the oldest and easiest
way to account for strange things,
and still holds its ancient sway over
men's minds outside the laboratory
of the scientist and the workshop of
Elimination of this fallacy as a con-
trolling factor in the distribution of
products — wealth — is a necessary step
toward a rationally workable eco-
nomic system; a system adapted to
20th Century life and the mental at-
titude of our science-made Mecha-
"Chance" implies insufficient knowl-
edge of causes.
"Magic" implies misinterpretation
"Mystery" implies inherent un-
knowableness of causes.
While increasing knowledge tends
ever toward minimizing the "chance"
element and lessening of "magic"
errors, mystery presents a different
The laboratory, or the factory, or
the workshop, or the countinghouse,
is no place for "mystery," for to
the workers therein mystery means
ignorance — lack of intelligence. In
human life at large, it is quite other-
wise as concerns the essential All-
inclusive Mystery and religious mys-
ticism. This is a fact of profound
significance in relation to the larger
aspect of our "Social Problem."
Our new Skill Economics, there-
fore, may not discourage man's in-
nate love of mystery, — his inborn re-
ligious spirituality — nor curb the
spirit which tempts him to adventure
courageously into the unknown; but
instead should provide advantageous
scope for its personal expression.
But — as in the machine shop —
"mystery" is out of place in finance;
out of place because the function of
"money" in an economic system cor-
responds to the purposes of checks
and gauges, templets and measuring
instruments of the technologist and
the mechanical constructor.
The essentials of such devices are
accuracy, certainty, invariability — the
antitheses of the qualities of mys-
Yet in no branch of human activity
are its measuring devices so incon-
sistent, contradictory, inaccurate; so
mysteriously variable, so subject to
anti-social self-interested control as
are those, of the Financier — his twin
mysteries, "Money" and "Credit."
Our Queer Dollar.
One of the many quaint functions
of the dollar is that of a "standard
of value." As a matter of fact, no
one knows or can determine from
moment to moment, what is the
value of a dollar. We only know
that its worth is diminishing, vari-
ously, to the vanishing point.
Neither the Nation nor the Mone-
tary Experts, nor the Professors of
Economics, nor the Financiers, nor
the Interests, nor the Capitalists, nor
the Common Man, have ever suc-
ceeded in fixing our "standard of
value" — standardizing the value of
our "standard of value" — the worth
of our Dollar.
Mr. Worker contends that the con-
traction of the dollar is due to ex-
pansion in the cost of living; so he
strikes for more dollars, and effects
another shrink. Mr. Trader says the
contraction is due to the expansion
of wages; so he boosts up the price
of products, and effects still another
contraction. And so on and on, and
the end is not yet!
Indeed, there are as many different
explanations of this mysterious
"spooky" phenomenon in our
"Standard" almost as there are ex-
plainers — and their number is legion.
An Elastic Foot Rule!
If our foot-rule were subject to
similar mysterious fluctuations, its
length would have shrunk to four
inches or so (!) in the past five years,
with innumerable variations from
time to time.
Imagine the chaos, had such a mys-
teriously variable standard of mea-
surement been used in the machine
The stress of War conditions has
so completely demonstrated the in-
utility of our mysteriously elastic so-
called "standard of value and medium
of exchange" that it is now virtually
in the discard, — stacked up uselessly
in private and in national treasury
Our alleged "standard of value and
medium of exchange" never was a
standard of value, and now it is not
even a medium of exchange. Quaint,
A practically costless, hence un-
varying, "medium of exchange" — a
one-function money — is another much
needed step toward a rational eco-
But if our money is a mysterious
commodity, what shall be said of
"Money" — i.e., "gold coin of the
United States of the present standard
of weight and fineness" — even though
lacking in practical utility, is at least
a physical commodity. It occupies
space (however uselessly) ; it has
color, weight, length, breadth and
thickness, — it possesses physical char-
acteristics easily determinable by
Not one of these facts is applicable
"Credit" is a state of mind, a
psychological condition — hypnosis — a
mesmeric dream. Naturally it lacks
all the qualities of physical things,
and possesses all those of phan-
tasms. A man dreams he is wealthy,
and — for all dream purposes — he is
wealthy; even though in actual fact
he is dying of starvation in squalor
So too, in like manner, a nation
dreams itself some (or many) billions
of additional wealth; sets the print-
ing presses going to record the
dream — in "bonds"; and forthwith
becomes billions wealthier (in its
mind), though, as a matter of fact,
the physical wealth may have shrunk
to the danger point of general in-
digence and starvation.
This is the danger-fraught "World
Boundless Credit Wealth
Seemingly human stupidity is lim-
itless and human credulity infinite!
This boundless, unweighable, unmea-
surable, hope-created dream-stuff
("Credit") is sliced and apportioned,
like beef or butter, and sold in the
market place. by self-appointed pur-
veyors of public optimism.
Yes! Sold and exchanged for the
limited, measurable, physical prod-
ucts of sweaty and grimy toil and
strenuous human effort.
Like all other dreams and dream-
stuff. "Credit" visions know no
bounds but those of desire. Millions
or billions or scores of billions — it's
all the same in the wonderland
dreamworld of "Finance": wish them
and dream them, and presto! they
exist. They exist: dream ships,
dream cannons, dream food — irides-
cent wealth bubbles blown up and
"floated through an expansion of
credit," as proposed by Finance Wiz-
It is not surprising therefore that
in the wonderland of Finance this
dreamworld's dream wealth "Credit"
— as represented by "credit instru-
ments," i. e., stocks, bonds, mortgages,
national debts, etc. — transcends great-
ly the workaday world's physical
utilities — real wealth.
But what is going to happen when
we are jolted awake to the rationality
of workaday reality, and dream
visions vanish; when the airy
floating credit bubble bursts — as bub-
bles do? When Germany and Austria
follow Russia's (Bolshevik) example,
and France follows Germany, and
then England, and then . . . ?
When this happens, the world will
discard the silly delusion that time is
reversible by financial magic — credit;
"credit," the greatest of all myths and
magic makebelieves by which cunning
men in all ages have sought to get
something for nothing.
In all the historically recorded cases
of collective human delusions — from
practical Rome's entrail augury to
shrewd Yankee Salem's witchcraft —
there is none which surpasses, in col-
lective crass credulity, our great Credit
A national (non-tribute) bookkeep-
ing system equitably to determine real
ownership of the products of effort,
is a much needed economic conven-
It would seem that with the advent
of Experimental Science occurred an
epoch in the history of our Race; an
epochal event to which none other
is comparable, except possibly the ac-
quisition of Self-consciousness itself.
Indeed it would seem that these two
super-significant events — so unthink-
ably far apart in time — are, in essence,
By coming to Self-consciousness
the Brute became Man — potentially,
though not actually, a self-determining
By the coming of Science — based
upon the idea of the rationality and
neutrality of "nature" — potential Free-
dom ceased to be a mere possibility
and became a realizable Ideal.
To Make or Break Shackles.
Science and Technology are, how-
ever, but tools in Man's hands; tools
wherewith to make effective Man's
transcendent privilege: Freedom of
Groups of men (like Germany) may
use these great instrumentalities to
forge social shackles upon themselves,
and upon Humanity the bondage of
Or, they may use them to make hu-
man Liberty effective, as is the ideal
of the United States.
Human beings, whether as individ-
uals, or as groups, or as nations, are
"free" — self-determining — only when
purposively initiative; for it is only
in purposive action that liberty can be
Freedom, then, means will to intelli-
gent self-expression — liberty ex-
pressed in rational accomplishment.
On all the foregoing considerations,
our problem of "Social Reconstruc-
tion" on a scientific basis implies sys-
tematizing our great but inchoate Na-
tion upon economic principles appro-
priate to an Industrial Democracy.
The basis of modern industry being
scientific knowledge of nature's laws
whereby nature's resources are made
available for human use and enjoy-
mint through the aid and agency of
technical skill, "Reconstruction" be-
comes essentially a process of selec-
tive rejection of present inappropriate
economic usages; discarding customs
which unduly facilitate the acquisitive
instincts, and substituting others
which tend to minimize social ob-
stacles to the freer expression of the
constructive or industrial instincts —
in the interest of the commonweal.
As industrial processes involve spe-
cialized skill and expert technical
training, made effective by intelligent
co-ordination, it is clear that a hu-
manly efficient Industrial Democracy
necessitates leadership by those who
possess the requisite knowledge, skill,
and technical training.
So, when we speak of Industrial De-
mocracy, what we really mean is:
Nation-wide Industry managed by
Technologists — a Nation of free and
socially equal workers, scientifically
organized for mutual benefit and uni-
fied purpose — a Technocracy.
By way of summary, a few of the
more obviously inappropriate present
usages which, seemingly with advan-
tage, we might consign to the limbo
of outworn social expedients, here fol-
(I) Discard usages founded on the
autocratic idea of "the State";
Substitute therefor — in fact as well
as in theory — others resting upon the
self-evident right of a man to inalien-
able and complete ownership of him-
self; hence (in effect) inalienable own-
ership of the industrial product result-
ing from the functioning of his mind
and body — limited only by others'
(II) Discard conventions resting
upon the parasitic idea that (legal)
possession is equivalent to production:
Substitute natural ownership based
on making for conventions that legal-
(III) Discard institutions legaliz-
ing "chance" as a controlling factor
for the distribution of things;
Substitute therefor collective fore-
sight based upon experience; and hu-
man need for instinctive animal greed
— in the interest of the commonweal.
(IV) Discard "financial magic"
practices resting upon the animistic
fallacy that inanimate objects can (by
convention) be endowed with life's
unique function — reproduction ;
Substitute others on the evidential
fact that only human beings can make
usefully available the things we call
(V) Discard the "mysteries of fi-
nance" in wealth distributing pro-
cesses — the private purveying of pub-
lic optimism for gain and the "man-
ufacture of credit" for sale;
Substitute therefor a community
(national) bookkeeping system, in
which figures clearly tell what each
individual and each group has added
to the common stock.
(VI) Discard institutions resting
upon the erroneous notion that con-
ventional symbols, i. e., "representa-
tives" of wealth, "bonds," "credit,"
"capital," etc. — are equivalent to and
can perform the functions of the in-
strumentalities they "represent," and
can continue so to function long after
the instrumentalities have ceased to
exist or have become obsolete;
Substitute others making the use-
rent of things, i. e. "usury," "interest,"
correspond to and be contingent upon
the effective worth and the continued
usefulness of the things rented.
(VII) Discard customs based upon
mystic symbolism and the animistic
fallacy that "money" can perform the
functions of the life-energy or pro-
Substitute a costless one-function
national check medium of exchange.
(VIII) Discard "business" practices
based upon the anti-social dictum
that: "one man's misfortune is an-
Substitute therefor the proposition
that: the illhaps of unavoidable social
hazards and chance favors of good
fortune should (in social effect) be
equally shared by all.
(IX) Discard all institutions and
conventions facilitating the function-
ing of anti-social predatory and para-
Substitute others tending to en-
courage willing self-interested co-
operation energized by national unity
(X) Discard the strife inducing in-
stitutions of group industries based
upon the hunger-slavery idea of em-
ployer and employee organized for
mechanistic human efficiency in output
of products for purely private profit;
Substitute others based upon ra-
tional human initiative and develop-
ment with the aid of all the resources
of the Nation, co-ordinated for the
commonweal under the management
of Scientific Leadership to accomplish
a consensus National Objective.
Whether these proposed changes
arc effectively workable or are only
"visionary," "impracticable," "Utopian
dreams," is, of course, debatable; but
there can be no question regarding
the truth of the solemn warning of
Lloyd George: "Civilization, unless we
try to save it, may be precipitated
and scattered to atoms."
That our Civilization is in danger of
being "shattered to atoms," raises the
question of culpability for the present
ominous state of affairs, and hence
of responsibility for averting the
The Masses cannot be held respon-
sible, for they are simply impelled by
their instinct "to live"; they do not
think, they do what is much more im-
portant: they breed. Their magnifi-
cent all-inclusive social function is re-
production. Hence, they feel — feel
hunger, feel passion — they feel with
all the vital energy of the race.
Thus, when social conditions be-
come unbearable or threaten their vital
function, they reflex with unrestrained
ferocity against such conventional re-
straints to the natural expression of
their instinctive urges.
The Skilled Artisans cannot be held
responsible, for they are merely obey-
ing the instinct "to make." Their
mental activity is analogous to — and
for the same social purpose as — the
cycle of brain functioning that pro-
duces the mathematical cell of the bee,
the carpentry of the beaver, and the
nest building of the bird.
The Employers cannot be held re-
sponsible, for they only express the
instinct "to control," the Mastery in-
stinct — an urge which could not be
satisfied unless others willingly sub-
mitted to domination. Their social
function is to energize — to counteract
human inertia — for the preservation
of the Race.
The Financiers cannot be held re-
sponsible, for they only reflex the in-
stinct "to take," the urge to hoard,
like — and for the same social pur-
pose as — the hoarding of the squir-
rel or the honey storing of the bee.
They probably are least imaginative
of all. Their social function is con-
servation, the converse of progressive
Typically, none of these social ele-
ments think; think in the sense of the
imaginative pioneer theorizing of cre-
ative thought — seeking for truth apart
from its immediate application to self-
preservation — searching with spiritual
insight for paths into the unknown to
be later trod by careless earth-bound
The Scientist is in a different cate-
gory. Characteristically he lack> the
instinctive urges which distinguish the
other elements of human society.
But, it is his social function, to think.
He does think — he has functioned
with a vengeance!
One of the results of his high-
pressure thinking is that: "Civilization
may be shattered to atoms" — or Hu-
manity raised to Godlike heights, by
While it is quite questionable
whether Science, so far, has proved a
blessing or a curse to Humanity,
there can be no doubt that its poten-
tialities in either direction are limit-
less. Praiseworthy or culpable, as the
case now stands, responsibility for the
outcome rests squarely upon the
shoulders of the Scientist.
Notwithstanding appearances to the
contrary — popular unrest, growth of
socialism, spread of I. W. W.-ism,
the whirlwind of Bolshevism and
other terrifying upsurgings of de-
structive Massism — the "Masses" do
not desire to lead, do not seek "pro-
Human herds have always followed
leaders, like other gregarious animals -
followed their leaders willingly, blind-
The herd will follow till following
becomes vitally dangerous, threatens
its social life — hinders the normal
functioning of its instinctive urges to
growth and reproduction.
Nations have followed the leader-
ship of Autocracy till starved white
by plundering conventions or bled
white by wars.
Nations have followed the leader-
ship of Theocratic Mystics into
mental chaos, and confusion of human
ideals and social purpose.
And we today, with sheeplike docility,
have followed Plutocratic leadership
into a social morass of crazy financial
conventions, till the raising of families
has become an unbearable burden, an
impossible social handicap; till the
opportunity to work is a dubious
privilege; till the future of the worker
and breeder — the proletarian — offers
only a soul shriveling bondage of de-
basing and inescapable debt!
Modern Manhood's Mandate.
The present "World condition"
means only that the proletariat has
balked, revolted, at this sordid threat
to the sanity and the sanctity of
The "World condition" is a World
Cry! — a cry not for Proletarian Dic-
tatorship, nor for Mob Rule, but tor
The World demands new Leaders!
Not new and more "efficient" slave
drivers — Trust Barons, or Kings of
Commerce, or Emperors of Finance.
The Modern World demands mod-
ern Leaders, Men! Men with ideas
that rise higher than swapping jack-
knives — even in carload or shipload
The "World condition" expresses
this demand by modern men for mod-
ern leaders, leaders with modern spir-
Our "Social Unrest" is a demand for
torch-bearers and pathfinders to social
freedom of opportunity; a demand for
leaders with luminous imagination to
visualize our War-born Nation's de-
sired Peace Goal; leaders with scien-
tific knowledge to realize and actualize
the rational aspirations, ambitions,
and ideals of free modern American
Auto-, Theo-, and Pluto-crat
While the Autocrat, the Theocrat,
and the Plutocrat, are decadent
products of outworn ways and obso-
lescent materialistic manners of think-
ing, the Scientist, on the contrary, is
the most modern development of
modern intelligence, modern ideals,
and modern spiritualized modes of
Fernwald, Berkeley, March 20, 1919.
The Scientist is essentially a pioneer,
a pathfinder, a torch bearer, a seeker
after Truth and Rationality.
The Scientist is the modern re-
ligionist, the priest of selfless Truth:
Truth which grows with Man's
growth and luminously emerges with
the purifying of human Intelligence:
Truth — that all-inclusive Something
behind the physical facts of nature
which makes for Right — for mechan-
ical, for personal, for ethical, for
spiritual, for social righteousness — the
ultimate Unifying Ideal.
Truly, "the stone which the builders
rejected is become the head of the
corner": the keystone of the social
The Scientist is, seemingly, our one
best, if not our only hope for Rational
Then, too, the Scientist — by un-
leashing the limitlessly powerful nat-
ural forces, in uncoordinated, haphaz-
ard science - made instrumentalities —
has got us into much of our present
So it is up to the Scientist to lead
us out; or at least, to harness for
human service the science-created
non-moral mechanistic monster that
he has liberated.
Guideless and Aimless!
But if the Scientist shirks this great
task, if he lacks the desire for, or
the courage of, or the will to Leader-
ship; if for any reason he evades this
obvious responsibility, or is daunted
by its obvious difficulties . . . then
indeed, blindly plunging deviously on-
ward — guideless and aimless — "our
Civilization may be precipitated and
shattered to atoms," and our Indus-
trial Democracy adventure prove a
Yes! the most pathetic of all human
tragedies — futility.
Our Nation of great expectations,
of magnificently vague hopes and stu-
pendous possibilities, (if nothing
worse happens), will slump into futile
pottering desuetude, lacking inspiring
purpose to live for, lacking worthy
achievement to work for, lacking
worthwhile goal to strive for, lacking
— a Great National Objective.
Reprinted from the Gazette, Berkeley, California.
Copyright, 1921, by W. H. Smyth
Magic Money, Money Magic and the Magician ;
The Payers and — the Fading Smile.
By William Henry Smyth
University of California,
Department of Philosophy,
I have read with keen interest this series of discussions on "Technoc-
racy." They constitute an interesting and incisive analysis of some im-
portant factors of our present day society. One need not agree with all
of the author's comments and conclusions, but the spirit of his inquiry,
and the serious attempt to be scientific and analytical will impress every
G. P. ADAMS.
(George Plimpton Adams, Ph.D., is Professor of Philosophy in the
University of California.)
Note: The First Series of Technocracy outlines a program of social recon-
struction under the guidance of nationally organized Science. The Second
Series develops, in simple language and with common examples, the working
method, the ways and means proposed by the author for attaining such social
order and contentment, and thus destroying the peril of revolution.
In Part I Mr. Smyth sets forth the antagonism, in our society, of ancestral
superstition, obvious in economics, notably effective in finance, as against the
modern point of view, enforced by Science and our every-day-life familiarity
with and dependence on machines and machine processes — with the resulting
social tension accumulating to the breaking strain. — Editor.
Mechanics and Economics. prehension and understandable to or-
Mechanics deals with things— dinary intelligence,
things governed by unchangeable and "Economics" and "Finance," to Mr.
unchanging Laws of Nature. The ba- Average Man, seem realms of pro-
sic facts and principles of Mechanic found impenetrable mystery governed
Arts have passed out of the region of b y occult forces,
doubt or controversy — they are firmly T „ , . -rvrr^
founded upon the proofs of scientific Important Difference.
experiment. The difference in our mental atti-
• Economics, on the contrary, is con- tude towards these two departments
cerned with easily changeable (man- of human effort, to which I have di-
made) rules and regulations— commu- rected attention, serves in part at least
nity usages intended to facilitate so- to explain why it is that we would
cial activities. Hardly any two an- unquestioningly accept (as being bnl-
thorities are agreed upon the basic hantly reasonable) a proposal by a
"facts" of economics, nor are these "Financier," that with spontaneous
"facts" determinable by the tests of scorn we would reject (as being ob-
experimental science. viously crazy), if suggested by a me-
i-«i • /-m ■ chanic.
Clarity and Obscurity. i t j s so easy to overlook the cus-
Mechanics and machines, to Mr. Av- tomary that this common happening
erage Man, are quite within his com- is not commonly noted; nonetheless
it is a fact and social factor of more
than ordinary importance, for it
throws light on social problems, upon
the solution of which may depend our
escape, in the United States, from the
condition of Europe, particularly that
Obviously (to commonsense), if
workers worked in future materials or
if soldiers shot at each other with fu-
ture bullets, or if both toilers and
fighters fed on future food, only vis-
ionary products and dream carnage
So, should a Mechanic propose to
us an "invention" intended to enable
workers, feeders, and fighters to fight
today, feed today, work today, and
jag today on next year's or next cen-
tury's materials, food, booze, and en-
ergy; we should tap our foreheads
significantly, and murmur— "Wheels!"
Let, however, Mr. Financier make
the same proposition as Mr. (Nuttie)
Mechanic, and we joyfully shout —
"Hurrah! for the Future!"; and hand
our "Wizard of Finance" a thousand
billion dollar blanket mortgage "bond"
on the world, (i. e., "National Debts,"
and intra-national "credit" instru-
ments) paying Financier 5% interest
for ever — to "finance the enterprise."
When a dapper and dextrous gen-
tleman, in evening costume — with con-
vincing evidence of "no deception" —
produces ribbons and rabbits, pigeons
and poultry, guinea-pigs and goldfish,
from a magic hat, we — undeceived —
smilingly applaud his skill.
But, let Mr. Financier's learned co-
adjutor Professor Economicus solemn-
ly and lengthily discourse learnedly
regarding steaks and steamships; su-
gar, shoes and psychics; copper and
coal; jags, joys and jimjams; cotton,
coaloil, and cucumbers; cabbages and
kings, dollars and diamonds, quantum
and quahogs — all that heart of man
desires — spontaneously generated out
of a magic hat of "future savings"
(i. e., mysteriously conventionalized
"credit"), we listen in respectful
amaze, and hopefully hand our petty
surplus present products to Mr. Finan-
cier — as a small consideration for the
great and mysterious future benefits
to be conferred by his wondrous cre-
Such "finance" and "economic" hap-
penings as these are so common,
usual, everyday experiences that they
pass smoothly by without any awak-
ening shock to our intelligence; thus
they escape critical attention. None-
theless from these casual unnoted
causes flow our social unrest and
(a) "This war must be financed, not
out of past savings but out of future
savings. Future savings are for the
moment not available and some other
device must therefore be brought into
play. That device is bank credit, and
this loan and subsequent loans will in
the main be floated through an expan-
sion of bank credit."
(b) "And, finally, it flows in to the
capitalist without ever exhausting the
capital from which it comes, and there-
fore without any necessary limit to its
continuance. It is, if one may use
such an expression about mundane
things, capable of an everlasting life.
Thus it is that the phenomenon of in-
terest as a whole presents the remark-
able picture of a lifeless thing produc-
ing an everlasting and inexhaustible
supply of goods."
"Economics" vs. Horsesense.
Quotation (a) is the considered pro-
nouncement of a foremost banker and
a national power in the "World of
Quotation (b) is the deliberate ut-
terance of a leading if not the leading
authority in the "Realm of Econom-
Both statements, with practical
unanimity, are accepted as expressions
of Twentieth Century economic intelli-
If quotation (a) is not in essence
precisely the proposal of our crazy "in-
ventor" and if (b) does not in effect
describe the performance of the presti-
digitator, and if both are not definite
and serious expressions of (real even
if unconscious) belief in magic, then
words have no meaning and rational
thought is a futile farce.
Should cither proposition (a or b)
come (in precisely the same form)
from a mechanic, it would require no
stretch of the imagination to foretell
the verdict of a lunacy commission
regarding his fate.
It is noteworthy that our mental
attitude toward the .Mechanic is prac-
tical, matter-of-fact, modern; toward
the Financier it is "natural," sub-
conscious, and old as the human race.
In this first quarter of the Twen-
tieth Century, the overwhelming
majority still persist in our ages-old
belief in supernatural outcomes —
something from nothing. Indeed, it
is probable that not one of us is
quite liberated from the ancient thrall
of superstition in some of its myriad
aspects. So deeply ingrained in the
fiber of human thought is the idea
of magic causation, that this is still
the "natural" explanation of any
Our common speech, our vocations,
relaxations, institutions, (secular and
sacred), are full to overflowing with
evidence to the persistance of prac-
tically universal belief in sorcery, de-
monology, witchcraft, black-art and
We legalize "chance" for the dis-
tribution of wealth, for the "owner-
ship" of property, and for success
We commercialize and institu-
tionalize luck, gambling, speculation
— socialize worship of the "fickle god-
We pray "God" to pet and coddle
us, and we bribe "Him" to clout
without mercy those of whom we
We supplicate rain for our little
alfalfa patch — regardless of our
neighbor's blossoming orchard.
We "bless" our friends politely,
and "curse" our enemies with pro-
We have sanctified days, places,
and things, not forgetting a fair-
sized remnant of super-sanctified peo-
We habitually apply the term "wiz-
ard" to every man who produces
results that arouse our wonder —
Wizard of Invention, Wizard of Art,
Wizard of Finance.
We constantly talk of the Magic
of invention, the Magic of art, the
Magic of money.
Still we ignore these facts and
pretend that the modern use of hoary
old witchcraft words is metaphorical,
and that our continued use of Black
Art and White Magic customs does
not imply belief in Diabolism and
necromancy as in the past.
But association of ideas, race his-
tory, nursery impressions, and com-
munity heritage are all too strong for
the strongest of us, so the best we at-
tain is verbal and vociferous denial
thinly and shamefacedly masking con-
scious, subconscious, and unconscious
belief in magic.
Two Ways of Thinking.
Add now the new factors, Modern
Science and Printing, — with the con-
comitant spread of scientific thinking
— which knows not, repudiates, and
wars with mystery, occultism, magic —
and we have the perfectly natural re-
sults which we see all around us: dis-
agreements, disputes, strikes, lock-
outs, riots, I. W. W.-ism, Bolshevism,
revolutions, rebellions, World War;
results the final outcome of which —
depending upon general human intel-
ligence — will make for unprecedented
social progress or for anarchy and
the downfall of present civilization.
Mechanics, Modern Science and sci-
entific mode of thinking practically be-
gan with the Steam Engine and mod-
ern machines of precision.
Economics is coeval with the Hu-
So it has come about that each one
of us has two separate sets of ideas,
two distinct ways of thinking — the
Ancient and the Modern.
Even so, a statement that our (more
or less) self-consistent "Financial Sys-
tem" is to any serious extent con-
structed out of unscientific fancies and
rots upon nothing more solid than
ancient superstition, is a shock to van-
ity, as an insult to our intelligence: an
insult directed not at the ignorant
anion*- us or at the thoughtless ordin-
ary citizen, but, at our leaders and our
teachers, and at the "brilliant intel-
lects" that control the world's activ-
ities — the Premiers of Governments,
the Kings of Commerce, the Emper-
ors of Finance.
Nonetheless, I believe the accusa-
tion to be substantially true.
For a Consideration.
Under our modern business usages
and economic customs, all social ac-
tivities must be "financed"; every hu-
man purpose from "winning souls to
God" to building a toboggan slide hell-
ward; from constructing a "little red
schoolhouse" to destroying an empire;
from borning to burying, every human
enterprise must (as a matter of
course), be "financed" — for a consid-
In brief, the modern fashion in
smoothly separating Doer and Maker
from the desirable results of his doing
and making, is by "financiering the
enterprise" — for a consideration.
For a thousand years prior to our
"Finance" dispensation, human activi-
ties and enterprises had to be (similar-
ly) sanctioned by "the Church" — for a
For a thousand years or more, prior
to "the Church," enterprises had to
be similarly sanctioned by "the Or-
acle" — for a consideration.
Fashions change, but human nature
is more unchanging than the granite
cliffs; and the art of painlessly part-
ing producer from his products is as
old as civilization and — Magic still is,
as it always has been, the painless
parter's most effective "device."
Indeed, the art of separating the
worker from the results of his indus-
try is far older than the human race:
animals swipe their neighbors' hoards,
bears steal honey, and bee swarms rob
Aeons of time and ages of human
experience have not resulted in any
essential change in purpose and out-
come, but only in rendering the pro-
cess more workmanlike and less
Animism in "Economics."
A common feature in systems of
magic is animism — attributing to in-
animate objects the functions of life,
assuming things to possess will, pur-
pose, and power.
It is significant (though quite in
keeping) that "Economists" and "Fi-
nanciers" have this characteristic at-
titude of mind towards, and employ
animistic forms of expression in writ-
ing and talking about "Money" and
Whether this is due to unconscious
belief in magic or is mere metaphor,
the result, in either case, is befogging
confusion of thought.
When the President of a great
banking corporation, in a serious pub-
lic discussion on "War Taxation," for
"Capital has a long memory . . . ";
"Capital is proverbially timid . . .";
". . . treason for capital and capi-
talists . . . ";
"... capital and men of enter-
prise . . . ";
"... capital and capitalists of to-
day . . . ";
he seems to be expressing nonsensical
animism and belief in magic — magic
no less crude and thinking no less na-
ive and childlike than that of the av-
erage man-on-the-street in his oft-
stated conviction that "Money makes
money," that "Dimes breed dollars,"
and suchlike popular aphorisms.
Hazy verbal expression usually im-
plies foggy thinking, and this is as
true of the "highbrow" as of the rest
of us. When language fails to clarify
thought it is probable that the
thoughts of its user need clarifying.
Let us then (by means of a little
paraphrastic amplification), endeavor
to make clear just what our banker
friend and adviser is really implying
in these truly ear-catching phrases,
which sound as though they really
ought to mean something:
Capital (i. e. a spade, or a plow, or
a crowbar, is more favorably en-
dowed than many of the human users
thereof — it) has a long memory . . .
Capital (i. e. a railroad, or a steam-
ship, or a skyscraper is scared to be
out alone after dark — it) is prover-
bially timid . . .
(It is) treason for capital (i. e.
boilers and bullion, timber-land and
mineral deposits, wharves and ware-
houses to preach and practice the forc-
ible overthrow of our government")
and (likewise also for) capitalists
(when either capital or capitalist is
caught in the act, he, she or it should
be shot, or at least fed on low diet
in close confinement until repent-
ant) . . .
Capital and capitalists of today, (on
account of their like human attrib-
utes, should be treated with all due
and tender consideration of their like
human frailties and timid self-sacri-
ficing characteristics) . . .
1 wonder if this is precisely what
friend Banker intended to imply, and
us to understand him to mean.
The literature of Wizardry — and it
is amazingly voluminous — is charac-
terized, both in word and in thought,
by mind-racking unintelligible obscur-
ity. It is curiously significant that
the books devoted to modern Econom-
ics and Finance are likewise couched
in obscure jargon — abracadabra — not
only meaningless to ordinary intel-
ligence, but apparently also to the
adepts in the alleged arts.
Here are a few samples culled at
random from a page in an article on
"The Nature and Mechanism (!) of
Credit," appearing in the Quarterly
Journal of Economics:
"... subjective value objecti-
vised . . .";
"... force of value . . .";
"... psychic force . . .";
". . . generic purchasing power
"... present good for future
good . . .";
"... present value of future
industrial worth . . .";
and the list might be almost indefi-
Truly, I do not lack courage, but
I throw up my hands — confronted by
these weirdly mystic phrases!
To me they seem as essentially
meaningless as the twaddle of the
March Hare and the Hatter that so
puzzled poor Alice — in Wonderland.
Subjected to mere commonsense an-
alysis not one of these mysteriously
cabalistic phrases seems to have any
more meaning, or to have any more
relation to actual things in a work-a-
day world of Science and Mechanics,
than the amazingly similar jargon of
Practically every "Economist" writ-
er invents his own vocabulary, and
contradicts the statements of every
other; they ridicule each other's rea-
soning; and seemingly each denies the
validity of all economic axioms but
his own — they fight like Kilkenny
A hurricane of verbalization has
yowled and a flood of billingsgate has
raged in this tempestuously wordy
conflict of economic mysticism. Bank-
ers flatly contradict Bankers; and
Economists arrive at diametrically op-
posite conclusions — from the same
In no other department of human
thought is there so much discord and
confusion as in the "Science of Eco-
But . . . ! the Financier — gets there
just the same.
Fact and Fancy.
It is practically certain that none
of us knows when or to what extent
superstition, ignorant mysticism and
animistic fallacies color and vitiate
his otherwise rational thinking. It
should not surprise us therefore, to
find whole areas of activities still ob-
sessed with this primitive mode of
thought, nor that the actors therein
are unconscious of their mental state.
Would -it not be the greatest miracle
of all were it otherwise?
Thus it is in high degree probable
that old fallacies and superstitions still
infest and ramify (unsuspected) those
activities which deal with life in its
more than ordinary complex aspects —
religion, philosophy, government, fin-
These considerations (even without
taking into account the ever-present
factor of instinctive self-interest) suf-
fice to make probability verge on cer-
tainty, that all these departments of
human activity involve an inextricable
mingling of fact and fancy — science
Magic and Science — "Economics"
and Mechanics — no contrast could be
greater, no antithesis more complete;
and between magic and science there
must always be war.
Just as the World War — with all its
variety of aspects and complexities of
motives — expresses the inherent con-
flict between mutually exclusive and
antagonistic social sys^ms — ancient
Autocracy and modern democracy —
so the world-wide social strife, indus-
trial unrest, I. W. W.-ism, Bolshe-
vism and other disruptive massisms,
express, in last analysis the still more
profound and equally unescapable con-
flict between ancient Superstition and
One of the commonest of human er-
rors is that of mentally putting the
cart before the horse — mistaking the
effect for the cause and vice versa.
We all reason more or less childishly,
impressed by the obvious.
In our childhood's games, custom
(hoary with age) prescribes concur-
rent forms of senseless words and ir-
relevant acts, words and acts to which
we ascribe such causative effect in the
outcome that, to our childish minds,
the game would be impossible without
So, too, it is much the same with
us, as grownups.
In our social activities, custom
(hoary with age and saturated with
ancient superstitions) prescribes the
mumbo jumbo we now call "financing
the enterprise." And to our obsessed
minds this voodoo becomes an all-im-
portant factor of such causative effect
that without its potent magic it would
be unsafe, if not impossible, to build
a schoolhouse or wage a war.
We see with our eyes • the obvious
fact that "financing" precedes and
accompanies all undertakings and en-
terprises; we see with our eyes that
doings, and makings, and enterprises
grow apace and increase most mar-
velously, so — "naturally" — we ascribe
to the "Financier" a large measure
of effect in the outcome.
And the source of the financier's
power to do these "miracles" and
work these wonders being mysterious
and occult, we "naturally" concede
him a large share of the proceeds,
and we (equally naturally) accord to
our modern Wizard (of "Finance")
that respectful awe which in all past
times we have been accustomed to
render to his forebears and predeces-
sors in magic — the Medicine Man,
the Witch Doctor, the Soothsayer,
the Oracle, the Astrologer, the Ma-
gician, the Ecclesiastic.
Custom and usage is merely con-
tinuing its normal course in those
two realms of activity now called
Finance, and Productive Industry —
Capital and Labor.
D-e-b-t Spells Slavery.
Enterprises (whether constructive
or destructive, whether productive or
unproductive, whether of peace or of
war), when "financed," become in-
debted to the "Financier" in propor-
tion to their magnitude; hence, the
harder the worker works, the more
industrious and enterprising the
Worker Community, the faster and
greater grows the Community indebt-
edness — a truly quaint, queer, curious
and mysterious system of "econom-
And the more closely it is exam-
ined the more quaintly mysterious it
Mystery is and always has been
the "device" of the cunning to de-
spoil and enslave the simple; and no
fact of large social significance is
today more glaringly apparent than
the general and mysterious drift of
desirable things out of the hands of
those who make them into the con-
trol of others.
Equally clear is it that the motor
"device" in this drift, taken by-and-
large, is that mysterious process we
call "financing the enterprise"; and
by the same token its most efficient
instrumentality is magic money and
It is not necessary to assume con-
scious intent on the part of the
"Financier" to enslave the "Worker
Masses", still, in a practical world it
is the practical outcome not the in-
tent that is of practical importance;
and in the orthography of modern
economics "slavery" is spelled with
only four letters — D-E-B-T.
The Magic Hat.
As — "economically" (!) — debt im-
plies interest "which flows to the
capitalist without ever exhausting the
capital from which it comes and
therefore without any necessary limit
to its continuance, it is . . . ca-
pable of an everlasting life . . .
a lifeless thing producing an ever-
lasting and inexhaustible supply of
goods" — steaks and steamships, welsh-
rabbits and railroads, women and
wine, dinners and diamonds, farms
and factories; parks, palaces, pleas-
ures, power — leisure and luxury, and
all that lustful heart of man desires,
all flowing in an everlasting, self-
creating stream, not out of but into
the magic hat — of the smiling finan-
But . . . ! the responsive smile
is ominously fading from the faces
of the dazed payers of the perform-
ance, gazing in goggle-eyed perr. lex-
ity at this quaint inversion of the
familiar old magic-hat trick.
Who? and What?
Who are they from whose faces
the smile is so ominously fading?
What does the fading of the smile
What does it portend?
They — are "the people."
Of them I have written heretofore:
"They do not think (constructively)
. . . they feel — feel hunger, feel
passion — they feel with all the vital
energy of the race. Thus when so-
cial conditions become unbearable or
threaten their vital function (repro-
duction), they reflex with unre-
strained ferocity. ..."
That is what it means — the fading
of the smile.
What it portends is — Revolution.
Is that — even as only a possibility
— a worthwhile social outcome, con-
sidering our stupendous National op-
Is our present social condition one
to which we can justly point with
Is our present social condition
worthy of National self-praise or of
self-condemnation when we think of
our century of nationally unhampered
freedom and consider our vast con-
tinental area of the most fertile, the
most resourceful, and most favorably
situated land and — the most intelli-
gent mass of human kind on earth,
on the job?
Is our present social condition a
goal for which an intelligent healthy-
minded Nation would deliberately
Is our present social condition the
Objective for which we — as a Na-
tion — have deliberately striven dur-
ing our National life?
What is — now — our National Ob-
Fernwald, Berkeley, California.
November 5, 1920.
ANIMALS REPRODUCE THEIR KIND:
CAN "MONEY MAKE MONEY"?
The Method of Solving Problems Generally
And Our Social Problem in Particular.
By William Henry Smyth
Note: Part II of Technocracy — Second Series makes easily and clearly
understandable a method of solving problems by disregarding details (ac-
cidentals) and focusing on principles (essentials), and the peculiar applicability
of this method to the social problems.
In so applying it, it is shown that social forces and (human) materials
are nature-given — unchangeable — and act in obedience to laws of nature
(instinctive urges, etc.), but by the same method by which the mechanic
utilizes "destructive" natural forces to subserve his human purposes, attains
his ends, and prevents disaster, we may (and not otherwise) avoid impending
social calamity — forestall revolution.
Freedom of Choice.
Nations, like individuals, have free-
dom of choice to do well or ill — to act
wisely or otherwise.
Nations, like their human elements,
are subject to growth, to degeneration,
to catastrophe. They are subject,
in other words, to evolution, devolu-
And, as in the case of individuals,
their growth, health, freedom from
accident — their continued prosperity —
depends upon their knowledge of the
laws of Nature and the intelligent use
they make of this knowledge.
"Great" and "Small."
Seemingly "Nature" makes no more
distinction between nations and indi-
viduals — is no more considerate of
millions than of units, than we are.
toward an ant or a swarm of ants.
Indeed, in the midst of the bil-
lions of giant suns constituting our
"Universe" the significance of our
whole huge Earth and all its con-
tents, animate, and inanimate, seems
to shrink into absolute negligibility.
But, "great" and "small" are human
"Nature" is just as "great" in its
smallest parts as it is "small" in its
greatest. And it is human Intelligence
which comprehends both the greatness
of the telescopic universe of suns and
solar systems, and the equal greatness
of the microscopic "universe" of mole-
cules and sub-molecules that make
up a grain of sand.
The practical point of this more or
less philosophical introduction is that
wc humans find ourselves on a mag-
nificently equipped earth, endowed
with freedom of choice to use or abuse
our splendid opportunities, with the
inevitable alternative of sanely joyous
life or futily premature death. And
we of the United States hold the most
favorable portion of the globe and an
unequalled physical and spiritual heri-
tage, with corresponding magnitude
of responsibility; responsibility flow-
ing from and out of our God-given and
God-like freedom of choice.
It is not necessary (as is both cus-
tomary and confusing) to read "pur-
pose" into the "acts of Nature." It
is enough to discern their unmistak-
ably marked drift.
This drift is a datum — a basic fact —
that willy-nilly we must accept.
It is this drift we call Evolution.
But there is this distinction between
Man and "Nature": Nature is imper-
sonal, mechanistic; Man is endowed
with Personality — intelligence and
freedom of choice; and is thereby en-
abled to become an active and pur-
poseful participator in the processes of
evolution, and by judiciously selecting
his relation to the drift he becomes
the sole responsible arbiter of his fate
— the master of his destiny.
But, can man's finite mind really
discern and steer a certain course
among the infinite complexities of the
The difficulty is not nearly so great
as many think. For every complexity
is reducible to simplicity.
Perhaps you have recently visited
the California, one of our latest fight-
ing ships. And being neither a naval
man nor a mechanic, what you saw
was probably a seemingly unintellig-
ible and mind confusing mass of com-
plexities, filling you with wonder, but
also with helpless bewilderment.
But, looked at the right way, the
battleship would have been as easy
reading as this sentence is to you. You
would have automatically looked for
the very few essential ideas — princi-
ples — upon which every mechanism
and every combination of mechanisms
must be built; and these perceived,
the rest would have been as simple
as unrolling a ball of twine; for, after
all, what you saw was only a dug-out
with cobble-stones to throw at the
enemy — modernized.
You know that the battleship hull is
merely a large floating sharp-ended
box or shell. You know that it has
motor means to give it motion; steer-
ing means to give it direction; arma-
ment to give it fighting efficiency.
These simple essential elements
equally characterize the primordial
savage war-canoe and the modern civ-
ilized battleship; and so considered
one is no more bewildering than the
other. And both are equally within
the grasp of common-sense clear and
As to the myriad minute details, by
which these simple elements have
gradually attained their modern re-
finement, these are matters of merely
incidental interest; each one of which
complexities, however, could be re-
duced to the same simplicity separ-
ately — by the same method.
Indeed, these separate elements con-
stitute subject matters of separate
arts, and they have been arrived at by
the skilled mechanic by a process es-
sentially corresponding to that which
I have suggested to you, as the right
way of looking at the battleship.
The Mechanic knows no more about
the ultimate nature (i. e. details) of
the matter, materials, and forces
which he employs, than you knew
about the details of a fighting craft.
All he knows or cares about are a
few basic facts, the simple principles
(elements) of Mechanics, and he pro-
duces his results, so bewildering to
you in their fictitious complexity, by
applying these simple principles to
whatever task he tackles.
You will not charge me with ego-
tism if I remind you that I am talk-
ing as one who has been there.
In my long experience as inventor,
as inventor's adviser, as expert in a
multitude of technical questions and
patent litigations involving matters
of the most intricate character, I
have never found my method of lay-
ing hold of the principles to fail; and
I have never encountered another
that will work.
Now this method, though unfor-
tunately far from universally prac-
ticed, is quite universally available.
There is no reason in the world
why you should not employ it as
well, and with the same confidence,
as I. For it rests, not upon a spe-
cial endowment or any particular at-
tainment, but on the commonsense
discernment that every effect has a
cause, and that at the bottom of a
cluster of interrelated effects one
must reach a simple cause.
This effective method of attack is
seemingly of universal applicability,
and you should now be able to rec-
ognize its use by me in the various
articles of mine that you have read.
You may also fathom the cause and
foundation of the seemingly egotis-
tical confidence with which I, a
mere mechanic, plunge headlong into
region of Sociology, Economics, and
Finance — and unhesitatingly invite
you to follow me.
The method has in the past en-
abled me to successfully pioneer in
quite a number of arts in the details
of which I was as ignorant as I am
of those of Economics and Finance.
Thus I do not feel that I am sug-
gesting to you a course fraught with
any more danger than that normal
to being alive; either when I recom-
mend your adoption of my method
of attacking problems generally or in
my asking you to follow me in my
application of it to our "Social Prob-
You Mall remember that the first
part of this series ended somewhat
pessimistically envisaging an ominous
prospect and causative influences
seemingly deep-seated and running
back into the mists of antiquity. The
great mass of the people are becom-
ing more and more discontented with
their condition, more and more per-
plexed concerning its cause, and more
and more bewildered (and increas-
ingly impatient) as to the course to
To all with eyes to see it is clear
that the social body is profoundly
sick. And equally clear, that to cure
a sickness, one must remove the
cause; and that unless the cause is
so removed, the sickness will run its
course — possibly to death.
In the social body, when the
process of sickness (such as we are
now passing through) reaches a crit-
ical point, another phase or phe-
nomenon usually supervenes to save
the moribund body from actual ex-
And just as it is the task of a sick
man to fight off death, so our social
problem, in its essence, is the task
of forestalling Revolution.
Remember the California.
With our visit to the warship in
mind, let us now prepare to apply
to our Social Problem the method
there tried out.
We must first of all ascertain and
grasp securely the simple basic prin-
ciples on which the mechanism of
the social body is built. This will
carry us out of the maze of confus-
ing details into the clearness of or-
We shall then be in a position to
make an intelligent diagnosis of the
social disorder, and to at least think
clearly regarding the remedial course
to be adopted.
And, lest there be needless appre-
hension, t let us note right here that
it will not be necessary for us to
lay down the curative (or recon-
structive) procedure in its particu-
lars — "a practical remedy" in detail.
Just as on the battleship we should
find experts competent to execute
the details of any change found de-
sirable, so we have in the social ag-
gregation technicians to perform the
What Evolution Is Not.
No word is more on people's lips
than "Evolution"; and none is more
frequently misused, and misunder-
Social Evolution is often talked of
as if it were a cosmic process forced
on men wholly from the outside, re-
gardless of their yea and nay; or
again as if it were a beneficent dis-
pensation "from on high" that some-
how, and regardless of men's acts,
will float them to the haven of social
The typical expression of this
last extraordinary misconception is:
"Things will right themselves!"
What Evolution Is.
In so far as "Social Evolution" is
used not merely as a pretentious
label for any adventitious change,
but for a continuing process analo-
gous to that which has produced the
animate world, from amoeba to Man,
Social Evolution is indeed a "Nat-
ural'' force which Alan must accept
and to which he must adjust him-
self as to all other forces of Nature,
but which, like any other natural
force, is available to Man for the
accomplishment of his own purposes.
Thus — and this is the decisive point
— Man is not the helpless object of
this evolutionary force, but a par-
ticipating subject — a Master Me-
It is nonsense to say Capitalism
mu^t persist or that Socialism must
come, by virtue of social evolution.
whether men desire either one or the
other or neither. Men in their social
relations are not dust motes blown
hither and thither by evolutionary
winds. Men are intelligent beings,
with freedom of choice; that is, free
to use their intelligence.
Use their intelligence for what?
Obviously not for the purpose of
trying to re-make Man — to treat as
negligible basic traits fixed by suc-
cessive survival through a million
generations; or of attempting to alter
the eternal forces of Nature.
That were vain indeed!
Natural forces, in social as well as
in molecular and molar mechanics,
in social as well as in biological evo-
lution, are inexorable. They are not
hostile to Man, neither are they
friendly; they are simply regardless
of him — impersonal.
If the}' have any "will", they show
none toward Man.
But Man has will. Man has pur-
Man can! — if he will.*. .
How then does Man do his will,
work his purpose?
To him who tries to see below the
surface it is clear that purposeful
action invariably is pivoted on a ju-
dicious choice of the man's position
in relation to the circumstances which
This is true even of the trite con-
ditions of our daily lives: even these
are usually determined for us. Our
real freedom of action means our
choice of different ways of placing
ourselves in relation to these con-
ditions — as a sailor, to keep his de-
sired course, sets Ids sail with- ref-
erence to the wind.
Choice of Relation.
It is even so with the greatest
affairs, with the concerns of the Na-
tion, with our whole Social Problem.
Certain forces face and envelop us
that we cannot change. But we can
set our social sails and order our
actions in relation to them and thus
mediately affect the course of our
social craft in the direction of a hu-
manly desirable, predetermined goal.
If our choice is unwise, those
forces will run to our hurt. If we
choose wisely, we may make a force
seemingly opposed to our aim — sub-
serve it. Thus we can convert what
otherwise would have led to destruc-
tion into constructive upbuilding —
change malefaction into benefaction,
criminality into social service, gen-
eral nuisance into commonweal.
Think of the Johnstown flood, the
San Francisco fire, the Titanic dis-
aster, the frequent destructive over-
flow of the Mississippi, the recurring
inundations of the Sacramento Val-
All these represent Nature acting
regardless of Man; and Man acting
regardless of his own intelligence.
In all these cases natural forces
overwhelmed Man with calamity be-
cause he had failed to exercise his
intelligence in rightly choosing his
relation toward these forces.
After Event Wisdom.
After the destruction of Johns-
town, the seasonal floodwaters were
wisely impounded — to prevent a repe-
tition of the disaster.
After the San Francisco fire, build-
ings were wisely constructed of steel
and concrete and an adequate water
supply provided — to prevent a repe-
tition of the disaster.
After the Titanic and her human
cargo had perished, her sister ship
was wisely fitted with a double cel-
lular bottom, and other provisions^ —
to prevent a repetition of the dis-
After seasonal floods of Sierra
snow waters have, time and again,
destroyed, wholesale, men's works
and the products of their industry,
engineering measures are contem-
plated in our great valley — to prevent
the recurring disasters.
Why Not Before?
The Johnstown people knew their
danger from flood!
The San Franciscans knew their
peculiar danger from fire!
The owners of the Titanic knew
the danger from icebergs!
And all of us in the United States
now — except those deliberately ob-
structing their mental vision with
blinkers of happy-go-lucky optimism
— realize our impending danger from
There is nothing so foolish and
ultimately disastrous as to blink un-
pleasant facts; "saying peace, peace:
when there is no peace."
This blinking of facts — "trusting
to luck", trusting that "things will
right themselves"- — is the true cause
Shall we of the United States act
like those foolish ones and like them
suffer for our foolishness?
Shall we continue to act with
equal foolishness and enact silly "pro-
hibition" and other repressive laws
intended to accomplish the impos-
sible — change fundamental human in-
stincts and overturn the unalterable
laws of Nature?
Shall we, like Europe, wait to learn
wisdom from social catastrophe —
I hope not.
Ways and Means.
My hope that we shall forestall rev-
olution will undoubtedly be echoed by
all true Americans.
But that our hope may be fulfilled,
we cannot trust to luck or that things
will right themselves.
It will be necessary above all that
we act, and not only act, but act
intelligently. And we seem, as yet,
far from anything like a general un-
derstanding and agreement as to
what must be done and what can be
We cannot (and we would not if wc
could) prevent the snow falling on the
Sierras. We cannot prevent that
snow from melting when and how fast
it will. No matter how much we
may prefer a nicely and "benevolent-
ly" calculated graduation, we cannot
prevent a sudden and "malevolently"
unseasonable rise of temperature and
sudden starting of a thousand "dev-
ilishly" destructive freshets.
But we can protect the forests, im-
pound flood waters, regulate stream
channels, build reservoirs, dams and
levees. In short, we can forestall
destruction flowing from impersonally
neutral natural forces, which in them-
selves aie unpreventable.
Every one knows how much in that
way we have already accomplished,
and how much more is planned.
We are not, however, confined to
prevention. Flood waters, which
would devastate, can be (and, as well
known, are) turned into priceless
means of production. By intelligence
and skill and purposefulness they are
made the means of reclaiming for
man's use the desert, and of "gener-
ating" light and power, and of helping
to build up what may, and what many
of us loyal Californians firmly believe
will, become the apex of human cul-
ture, the highest and truest civiliza-
tion on earth.
The point of application is plain.
There are about us social forces that
in themselves are just as little under
our control as are the snow fall and
thaw. Left to themselves they must
run their "natural" course. And, like
as not before we have time to catch
our breath, the flood will be upon us;
that direst deluge of all — Revolution.
We cannot change the elemental
facts of human nature.
In the first part of the first series
of these Technocracy papers I have
sketched in outline the origin and de-
velopment of the primal instincts and
propensities. These are as fixed as
natural forces. They ai <•, indeed, nat-
We cannot change a bellicose man
into a pacifist — a Roosevelt into a
Wilson; nor a feeder and breeder into
a philosopher; nor the acquisitive in-
to the inventive. We cannot by any
direct act abolish or even change sel-
fishness, cunning, greed, cowardice,
jusl as little as it would avail to try
(and it has been tried) to eradicate
courage, generosity, industry, public
To the social philosopher and the
enlightened social reformer, and best
of all to the plain citizen taking
thought of these matters, the first step
in the right direction, the first basic
principle that must underlie an under-
standing of the present Social Dis-
order and be imbedded in the founda-
tion of the Social Order to come,
should be the real and effective recog-
nition that all that may be accom-
plished must be accomplished with
the existing human material.
There is nothing in this proposition
to cause dejection to any one except
to those who think our only salva-
tion lies in our acquiring halos and
To many of us there is much deeper
satisfaction and cause for hopefulness
in the fact that, thanks to the Scien-
tist, the Inventor, and the Mechanic,
flying has become mechanically pos-
sible, than sorrow over the circum-
stance that our heads are not heboid
and the skin covering our scapulas
(male or female) remains as bare of
feathers as before.
It is indeed the Scientist, the Inven-
tor and the Mechanic who must, as I
propose to show, guide and help us on
our way — if we are to achieve social
Let our Scientists prove intelligent,
our Inventors resourceful, our Me-
chanics skillful, and us ready to draw
on our combined common-sense and
courage, there need be little fear that
our work of Social Reconstruction will
be brought to naught by inadequate
Reconstruction: That and no less we
must attempt if we arc to prevent
disaster — forestall Revolution.
The obvious prerequisite to our
beginning our reconstructive work is
an understanding of ourselves and
the existing social mechanism.
And to gain such understanding
we shall follow the method outlined
in connection with our visit to the
We shall refuse to be daunted by
surface and fictitious intricacy and
the multiplicity of details.
We shall seek out the simple es-
sentials, and we shall remember:
First, that every mechanism what-
ever, no matter how vast and com-
plicated, is built on simple princi-
Second, that it would be imprac-
tical and futile to specify "a prac-
tical remedy" or to lay down a
"practical program of reconstruction"
till we practically agree on social
principles and practically agree on
the purpose of the proposed social
Third, that laying hold of such
principles is like unlocking a door;
and a knowledge of the principles of
the social structure is the key (and
the only key) to an understanding
of the whole of it and of how it
This last implies that it is needful
also to note that to know how a
mechanism works is as requisite as
to know how it is made. Its work-
ing as well as its structure must
be understood. But a knowledge of
a structure almost certainly brings
with it a like knowledge of its work-
It will therefore be our task to
separate society into its very few
and very simple main parts, and to
observe their activities and the work-
ing of society as a whole.
Obviously the units of society are
the human beings comprising it.
As I have set forth earlier, these
human units naturally arrange them-
selves, by virtue of their economic
traits, into natural groups. These
groups, then, are the essential (main)
parts of the social mechanism.
When we have learned to under-
stand them, their interrelation, and
their functioning — their natural work-
ing — we have learned to understand
society as a whole.
Having learned this, our ideas re-
garding "Reconstruction" will have
become clear, precise, and practically
Unchangeable Human Nature.
Let us take a forward look here,
in order to better know where we
are at, and where we are going.
We cannot change human nature;
on that we are, I hope, agreed. The
human units are beyond the reach of
Can we reconstruct their group-
ings — the social elements?
If I am right in holding that these
groupings are the expression of im-
manent economic traits, and thus the
working out of "human nature",
these too are fixed facts.
The essential social elements are
also not subject to Reconstruction.
What, then, in heaven's name, I
almost hear you cry out, is there
left to reconstruct?
Ask — Tin Lizzy.
If you had dealt as much with ma-
chinery as I, you would not be puz-
zled. And you will cease to be puz-
zled as soon as you reflect a little.
And — your tin Lizzy can tell you
all about it.
Ask her, nicely and properly, she
will tell you:
Her besetting vice is friction; but
Fernwald, Berkeley, California.
November 11, 1920.
without friction she could do noth-
ing — either praiseworthy or reprehen-
Lacking friction: instead of being
a jocund joy, she would be use-
lessly futile tinware.
She will skittishly skid on a greasy
road, or stall in loose sand because
of — insufficient friction.
But, also, she will refrain from
these improprieties, answer her
brake, and conform to your will only
— because of friction.
It is friction getting in its deadly
work when her joints and journals
screech for oil; and it is friction
that compels you to everlastingly buy
and replace her worn-out in'ards.
But, and finally, she speeds her
flirtatious chu-chu-ing way on the
level and chug-chugs laboriously up-
hill — God bless her — by friction.
Freedom of Choice.
One and the same force, then, will
work both "good" and "ill", depend-
ing on the conditioning interrela-
tions — our selected relation toward
the neutral natural force, — our pur-
Just so, one and the same machine
part, or one and the same social ele-
ment, will under different conditions
of interrelation or coordination pro-
duce totally different or even oppo-
site results — depending on our choice
In brief, what we can reconstruct
is the interrelation of the social ele-
ments. And such reconstruction
must proceed from a clear concep-
tion of what end the whole social
mechanism is to serve — our National
choice of purpose — our National Ob-
IS HUMAN FREEDOM ABSOLUTE OR IS IT
CONDITIONED ON RATIONALITY
AND NATURE'S LAWS?
A Working Method for a Workable Understanding
Of the Social Problem and of a Workable Reconstruction.
By William Henry Smyth
Note: Proceeding from the understanding reached in Part II, that the
natural social forces are fixed facts which cannot be altered, Part III shows
how they may be utilized for a human social purpose.
It shows that while human freedom must act within rigid laws of na-
true, it is not thereby limited. The intelligent realization of this fact has
made the mechanic effective and his accomplishments possible; failure to attain
this insight in social relations has produced what we call the "social problem."
Microscopic Scratch to Panama Canal.
Seemingly there is no physical task
beyond the capability of the Me-
Measuring and weighing machines
accurately determining relations of
ultra-microscopic minuteness up to
those of cosmic magnitude; machines
for production, for transportation, for
reclamation, for communication; ma-
chines of all grades of size and of
power, and of capacity, and of preci-
sion — from bolometer measuring vari-
ations in pressure of light-waves trav-
ersing infinite space to dreadnaught
delivering its accurately placed and ir-
resistible thousand-ton blows; from
the hundred thousand in an inch ac-
curately spaced diffraction-grating
scratches to Culebra earth-gash of the
These are some of the works of the
Methods Right and Wrong.
Clearly it is pertinent to our in-
quiry to ask: How does he do it
When we note in one department of
human effort certainty and success,
and in another confusion and failure,
it is more reasonable to infer that a
deep-seated difference in method ol
procedure is involved than that the
brains and intelligence of humanity
have accidentally drifted into the one
and deserted the other department.
The validity of this inference is em-
phasized by our common impression
that Mechanics are more or less hum-
ble and low-brow, commonplace and
ordinary fellows, while our Econo-
mists, Sociologists and Financiers are
by-and-large haughty and high-brow,
brainy and rather extraordinary per-
The Mechanic's Wisdom.
Probably the most characteristic at-
titude of the mechanic toward the
forces and materials with which he
deals is unquestioning acceptance of
the fact that he cannot change or any-
wise modify the laws of nature or the
qualities of materials.
The mechanic, like the rest of us,
wants to accomplish a multitude of
purposes. Having determined upon the
object of his desires, be it a machine
to do something, or a change in the
location of physical things, he pro-
ceeds upon the assumption which I
have indicated: that he is debarred
from changing or even modifying
either the laws of nature or the char-
acter of materials; and so sets to work
to get a clear understanding of these
laws and of the characteristics of the
materials involved. Then he so se-
lects his relation to the appropriate
forces and materials that thereby
(through their natural causc-and-ef-
fect functioning) his purpose is accom-
But, what do we mean by "Laws of
We do not mean a catalogue of in-
ert, dead "facts."
A law of nature implies motion, not
rest — Universal Energy in universal
orderly activity — it is not a static, but
a dynamic concept.
It is the description of a process and
the conditions under which it runs.
Essentially it is a precise statement of
the simple notion — based on experi-
ence — that if something happens,
something else will happen as a con-
Nature is dynamic — it is eternal Do-
Ceaseless change is of Nature's es-
Even what we call inert matter is
constantly changing and undergoing
elaboration and displacement.
What does not change are certain
relations, which we spell out under
the notion of cause and effect.
Thus a law of nature is the expres-
sion of what is ever changeless within
the ever changing.
Freedom Through Knowledge.
It is such clear and adequate under-
standing of and conformity to the laws
of nature that gives to the Mechanic
his freedom of action — his certainty,
He goes to his task neither cowed
by the irresistible natural forces nor
ignorantly contemptuous of them. He
knows them: and with his objective
clear before him, he so makes his
selection among them and so chooses
his relation to them that his work may
be accomplished through their service
— through Universal Energy.
The Mechanic's purposive freedom
(expressed in his accomplishments) is
made effective through knowledge of,
but by, Nature's Causative Activity.
Nature is neutral to Man, to his
hopes and his fears, his projects or his
lack of them.
Neutrality, however, does not neces-
sarily imply passivity. There is a neu-
trality in action as well as a neutrality
in rest: A swimmer's choice of direc-
tion is not diminished if he can take
advantage of currents flowing in the
chosen course, but on the contrary, his
effective liberty is thereby enhanced.
And the last word of Science is that
"Nature" is an infinitely directioned
but orderly flow of Universal Energy
— currents infinitely directioned and
available to liberate all who will pa-
tiently study them, and to realize all
their rational purposes.
It is in this sense that there is truth
in the otherwise inexact statement
that the mechanic has learned to "con-
As a matter of fact, he does not
As a matter of fact, also, nature
does not "control" him.
Doing the Impossible.
Some of you will remember the
time, not so very, very many years
ago, when aeronautics was still in
the balloon stage, and when at our
own university here in Berkeley one
of our most revered and renowned
and forward - looking scientists
"demonstrated" that flight by a heav-
ier-than-air contrivance was a phys-
ical impossibility — as contravening
certain laws of nature.
As we all know, the Professor was
wrong. But his error did not come
from overrating the laws of nature,
but from underrating man's freedom
and ingenuity in choosing his rela-
tion to them.
The fact of gravitation is beyond
the will of man and mechanic — leave
it or lump it. It is just the same as
it was when the Professor asserted
the impossibility of the aeroplane.
Yet now the overhead whirr (that
still thrills some of us) has become
so familiar that busy men hardly
How was this seeming miracle ac-
In essence: by a design calculated
to put the aviator in suitable speed
relation to that proverbially lightest
of things, the air, and thus its nat-
ural (upthrust) resilient energy coun-
terbalances natural (downthrust)
In short, the mechanic utilized nat-
ural forces appropriately — placed him-
self in appropriate relation — and thus
attained his desired objective.
But, the mechanic, no more than
the animal, the fish, or the bird,
"controls" these forces of nature.
Conditioned: Not Limited.
The wind bloweth where it listeth.
Of the forces of nature man cannot
alter a jot. But he has practically
unlimited scope for determining his
own relation with regard to them.
Man does not control nature.
But man can utilize the active
forces of nature — without limit.
The "Practical Mechanic" has
learned this lesson, as he has also
learned to utilize nature to attain his
own objectives — hence his ' success.
The Social Mechanic (sociologist
and economist) has learned neither;
— hence his failure.
Considering the limitless extent and
infinite complexity of nature, there
is thus given to Man an equally un-
limited scope for his activity — even
to the point, as shown by the prac-
tical mechanic, of attaining the "Im-
This holds good of all men's as-
pirations and activities, in his social
arrangements no less than in his me-
chanical contrivances. In one as in
the other he has infinite choice.
Man may attempt the seeming im-
possible — and succeed!
Man is free!
What Is Freedom?
With respect to the laws of na-
ture, and the mechanic's attitude to-
ward them, may we not now feel
that we are on firm ground?
But, what do we mean by "free-
Freedom! Invoked by myriad-
voiced chorus, called in vain by ig-
norance and folly! Spirit of de-
mocracy, yet not understood by de-
Endless foolish talk of freedom,
with all manner of etherial attenua-
tions of metaphysical abstractions,
perfervid declamation, profound mis-
What I mean by Freedom is ex-
ceedingly simple; but directly this
meaning is grasped, the light it sheds
on social relations becomes all-illu-
Freedom in matters social is pre-
cisely what I have shown to be the
mechanic's freedom in his dealings
with the forces of nature.
No more, no less.
Free to Choose.
The mechanic is not free to change,
he is free to choose the facts and
forces of nature. He is free to use
them as he wills, to his own and
others' good or — hurt.
Neither can you or I change the
social forces, the social materials.
But you and I and all of us to-
gether are free to choose and use
them for a predetermined purpose
and our advantage; but unused, they
— with cosmic indifference — quite
commonly run to our undoing.
The human units and essential
group elements of the social struc-
ture and their natural laws are as
much nature-given, nature-made and
nature-determined, as the units, ele-
ments, and laws of the mechanic's
constructions. They are the facts,
the data which we must accept, as
the mechanic accepts the character-
istics and functions of the wood, or
clay, or iron, or wedge, or lever, or
whatnot of his craft.
The Only Way.
If Society and Social Reconstruction
are to exercise freedom, it can only
be by wise selection and purposeful
utilization of the material offered by
Chemist, electrotechnician, metal-
lurgist, farmer, plant "originator", and
animal breeder— all (in effect) so ap-
preciate the rationale of their activi-
ties, and thus gain success.
When the stock-breeder wants cows
that produce more milk or heavier
beeves, he does not pray, nor employ
magic, nor serve, notice of specifica-
tions on nature. What he does is to
get busy with actually existing cows
and beeves, in whose make-up he
has no say whatever; and by apply-
ing his knowledge of genetics and
crossing the appropriate strains, he
finally gets what he is after. So
far from "controlling" nature and
essaying to dictate to her, he is her
humble, patient and painstaking pupil.
And so it is that he, after all (in
effect), "makes" her do his will.
Let "Nature" Do It.
No one will more heartily agree
with the Mechanic's Philosophy, as
I have outlined it, than my friend
Luther Burbank. He knows in high-
est degree how nature's "secrets" may
be learned; not evoked by magic or
any form of wizardry; not wrested
by flying in the face of nature's laws
or by nullifying natural forces; but
gained by patient search, by persist-
ent study, judicious choice, and intel-
ligent application to a well defined
purpose — objective. That is, exercis-
ing one's freedom in choosing his rela-
tion to the facts of nature. Man did not
make the myriad-spike-armed cactus.
But, Burbank has induced "Nature" to
make the heretofore hostile cactus,
And so also, Dr. Jacques Loeb, Dr.
Ritter, and the other biologists search-
ing for the secret of how "life is
made" and conceivably to "make" it
themselves, they all, I feel confident,
are imbued by the same understand-
ing and in essence follow the same
Re "Social Problem."
This and no other must be our
method in dealing with our Social
Problem. Not otherwise will a (hu-
manly desirable) New Order ever
arise from the existing Social Dis-
For this Disorder is the resultant
of natural (social) forces, forces to-
wards which men, failing to exercise
their freedom of choice, have taken
no defined and socially purposive po-
sition at all or an irrational position,
i. e. in opposition to natural social
forces. And these social forces will
and must obey their immanent laws
and run their nature-appointed course,
even to the obliteration of civilization
and civilized man's destruction, unless
and until he becomes fully aware of
the situation, learns to know the social
forces and their laws which he con-
fronts, and deals rationally with them
as does the mechanic with the natural
forces in his department of effort.
Let Man — in social relation — but
reach such competence of insight and
competence of action as the Mechanic
has already attained and the horizon
of the socially attainable will be ex-
It is not unnatural that so many pro-
posals for social betterment should
encounter scepticism. The man who
waves them aside with the (to him)
conclusive '"impossible," is less of an
impossibilist than the typical "reform-
er" who makes them. For those pro-
posals commonly rest, not on scien-
tific knowledge of the natural laws
involved and a competent technology
in dealing with them, but on mere
wish-father-to-the-t hought; fro m
which pedigree nothing comes but
But a suggestion for social action,
no matter how unprecedented, how
"impractical," no matter how startling
on the surface and to superficial in-
spection, if it discloses itself as se-
curely founded on the facts and laws
of society, will claim criticism of a
very different order.
Only the self-interested will hurl
Only the unthinking will then cry
Only the impractical will cry "Give
us a practical remedy," "Give us a
practical program of reconstruction."
And when the basic point of view
which I am here abbreviatedly setting
forth shall have gained acceptance, it
will follow that what is now labelled
impractical and socially impossible
will be universally regarded as the
matter-of-course; just as the "imprac-
tical" and "impossible" airplane of
twenty years ago is with us, now, an
If my extended experience with in-
venting had not taught me so securely
that the most formidable obstacles
and difficulties dissolve of themselves,
as it were, before the method which
I am outlining, and what victories
over the "impractical" and "impos-
sible" may thus be won, I do not
know that I should have the heart for
any sociologizing; so great and gro-
tesque is the contrast between what
humanly is and what humanly ought
Look about in any direction: You
find absurdity running rampant — run-
Ubiq. H. C. L.
Charmed if not charming symbol
of man's economic ineptitude —
H. C. L.
Tons of paper and printer's ink and
myriad dynes of linguistic energy have
been used up in vain speculative ef-
forts to track it to its lair, to stop its
soaring, to understand, to curb, to con-
And while the writing and disputing,
learned and unlearned, are at their
hottest, — lo! things mysteriously be-
gin to happen.
Howls and Grins.
Wool drops 50 per cent and — a mil-
lion-dollar howl goes up from the
Wheat, which sold at three dollars a
few months ago, is now precariously
hanging about two dollars. The price
of cotton has been cut in two since
spring. Cattle and hogs on the hoof
have slumped. Prices of staple fruits
are down — billion-dollar-shrieks from
City man grins.
Why Blame Anyone!
In the why of these ground-and-
lofty acrobatic performances o f
"prices" I am not at present interest-
ed. But what does interest me— and
you — at this point is the difference in
emotional response from different por-
tions of the American people.
Roars of rage from the farmer:
A nascent smile — a flickering grin
— of hope on the faces of the urban
Would you blame the farmer?
He must raise "high-priced" crops
on his "high-priced" land — blessed
are the land-speculators and boosters!
How else could he make "interest,"
let alone a "profit," on his "invest-
ment"? — blessed our system of finance
and financiers and "financiering the
And is not everyone legitimately,
necessarily, "naturally" out for the
Said a Hayward poultryman a little
while ago (a very decent good-natured
fellow, quite undistinguished for re-
pacity) : "I hope eggs go to two dol-
lars a dozen."
Can you blame him?
Do you blame any "profiteer"?
Would you blame Mr. City Con-
sumer for rejoicing at Mr. Farmer's
Let us note parenthetically that Mr.
City Consumer's joy is, as yet, only
The decline in values on the farm
has not, as yet, penetrated into his
grocery store — with marked visibility.
(Maybe it will not.) And his (decline-
in-wool-inspired) scouting of clothiers'
show windows has not, as yet, dis-
closed any hope-confirming tags.
Perhaps, indeed, though wool go
down fifty per cent, suits may go up
Is not our "economic system" equal
to almost anything — preposterous?
It "naturally" makes every citizen an
enemy of every other!
"One man's misfortune is another's
Of course! Naturally.
What are farms and farming to the
What is the city man to the farmer?
What is the householder to the
What are they all to the laborer?
What is the laborer to them all?
What are producer and consumer to
Where is there any understandable
and unifying interest?
You cut yourself down to one fire
in your house because coal is so dear;
but West Virginia and Alabama have
been enjoying the diversion of civil
war, because the coal miners want
more wages. And they are as far
from sybaritism as you are from be-
ing a miser.
But the Coal Barons do not lan-
Truly our grotesque "economic sys-
tern" is equal to almost anything pre-
Obviously it is equal to producing
the quaint, Alice in Wonderland, re-
sult of placing one good and amiable
American in Hayward and another
equally good and equally amiable
American in Berkeley into a relation
of active antagonism in life and death
hostility of interests and aims; hos-
tility as real, as necessary, as "nat-
ural," as if they were members, not of
a supposedly unified nation, but sub-
jects of two atrocious nations — at
war with each other.
Quaint hardly expresses it . . .eh?
Those Patched Breeches!
Why has wool, let us say, dropped
Because, say the "economists and
financiers," the world's market for
wool is overstocked.
Think of it!
But how on earth has it become
Think of it.
If a tithe we are told about Europe
is true, half her people have hardly
rags wherewith to cover their naked-
ness. And we dwellers in the richest
land of the earth (and, as we some-
times fancy, owners thereof) have we
not been performing marvels of skill
and patience (ye gods, how long it
seems!) in patching sleeve elbows, in
patching shoes, in patching breeches
seats, in patching our ragged tempers,
and in pretending that — if we have one
— an overcoat is appropriate for sum-
mer wear and — public appearance.
A sheepraiser in the Sacramento
valley will tell you he is compelled to
warehouse his present season's clip
"Wool is not now saleable"!- —
"There is no demand whatever!"
No demand for wool! Mark that.
And, of course no one feels the
slightest desire for a new suit of
So there you are.
Truly, quaint beyond expression.
How do you like it, Mr. Man?
And, how do you like it, Friend
But these examples of our prepos-
terous "economics" are obvious and
commonplace. I should not waste my
time and your patience just to speak
of such trite matters; or to add an-
other "practical" suggestion for "bet-
tering" them to the futile scrap-heap
of "practical" palliatives.
He would, indeed, be a fool-
mechanic who would waste time and
material tinkering with details of a
mechanism after having on careful ex-
amination decided the device to be
wrong in basic principle.
Why waste futile anger and energy
on Financiers and Profiteers when
they are perfectly "natural" elements
in our "economic system," as our na-
tional social aggregation has devel-
oped from its ages-old "natural" her-
I would not, if I could, stop Prof-
iteers from profiteering, nor Finan-
ciers from financiering, nor punish any
one for playing our fool-game accord-
ing to its crazy rules — better than the
rest of us.
What I am driving at is a working
method, for a workable understanding
of the "Social Problem," and a work-
able Social Reconstruction.
However difficult in application it
may appear to the unthinking, or how-
ever undesirable to the self-interested,
the method I propose has the ef-
fectiveness and simplicity of ration-
ality. It has that perfect simplicity
which lies at the heart of useful dis-
covery and invention.
The discernment for which I plead
is that our society is wrong in basic
principle, is based on anti-social prin-
ciples. It is a left-over from our Eu-
ropean heritage and — headed for the
Its various parts have developed in
obedience to natural forces, are work-
ing in obedience to natural forces, and
the outcome will be the natural re-
sult of the interaction of these nature-
given materials and natural forces.
It is childishly futile to try to tinker
any social machine part — any social
element — into workability, by itself.
In the first place, these elements
are in their essential qualities unmod-
ifiable. Just as the mechanic's ma-
terials are unchangeable.
In the second place, even could they
be singly altered, what good would
that do? They still would remain es-
sentially isolated elements, aggregat-
ed in this or that connection, but un-
combined by any unifying human de-
sign into a humanly purposeful whole.
Society a Machine.
It has not been effectively recog-
nized, despite the universal use of the
phrase "social body," that society is
a body — a mechanism.
Just as a man's body is really a ma-
chine, a heat motor, as mechanistic as
a Tin Lizzie or a battleship; just as
an army (in every proper sense of the
term) is a military machine: so a
Town, a State, or a Nation is equally
mechanistic — a true Machine.
Let us look for a moment at the
effective implication and significance
of this notion . . .
When your body is "sick" and an-
noying you by not obeying your will,
it is acting in obedience to universal
law with the same precision, regular-
ity, and mechanistic predictableness,
as when it was "well" and acting re-
sponsive to your will.
The only real difference is: in one
case you like, and in the other you
dislike, — the outcomes of the same
universal law, the same mechanistic
Fernwald, Berkelev, California.
November 15, 1920.
Just so with the social body.
If we do not like the outcome of
our social organization, and if we will
use our constructive imagination to
conceive an outcome more to our lik-
ing and use our freedom of choice to
choose such outcome; and if we have
initiative to undertake, and construc-
tive skill (and courage) to rearrange
the nature-given elements in suitable
relation to social forces and factors
to produce the chosen outcome — then
the solution of our "Social Problem"
will be in process.
And as I have said, "sickness" which
in the human body brings crises,
boding physical death, in the social
.body brings — Revolution — portent of
Purposeful Social Evolution.
It is quite useless to promulgate
"practical" programs and platforms,
and childishly impractical to prate
of the common interests of (dead)
"capital" and (living) "labor" and the
need of bringing them together, and
so forth, and so on and on . . .
The only measure that will prevent
Revolution is Purposeful Social Evo-
lution: Social Reconstruction of such
kind as will turn what is now a sense-
less anti-social, internecine warring
aggregation, into a purposeful work-
ing combination; into a real Nation —
a Nation unified by a common pur-
pose — a National Objective.
IS NOT HUMAN PURPOSIVE FREEDOM
MADE EFFECTIVE BY KNOWLEDGE OF
NATURE'S CAUSATIVE ACTIVITY?
Labor, Skill, Tally, Organization and Their Functions:
Production, Distribution, Direction.
By William Henry Smyth
Note: This the concluding part of Technocracy — Second Series gathers
up the preceding considerations for their logical conclusions.
The solution of the social problem is shown to lie in man's making use
of his unique self-conscious freedom and rationality for purposefully co-ordinat-
ing the nature-given and nature-elaborated elements of the social structure;
which the essay describes in their essentials. In this way man makes himself
a participator in the miracle of creation, the evolutionary process, and his
own physical, social, and spiritual development.
The alternative presented is, on one hand: animal instincts running their
'"natural" course to social chaos, to revolution; on the other hand: human
reason utilizing the instincts, for the attainment of social order, true social
Feeding and Breeding are the funda-
mentals of social life.
Any circumstance — "natural" hap-
pening, or artificial arrangement — ad-
verse to these basic requirements is
anti-social and socially disruptive.
Conditions favorable thereto are con-
ducive to social development.
Inherited Animal Instincts.
Not only are these requirements
basic to human society, but they are
and always were equally necessary to
all forms of "lower" animate exist-
Thus it is that (to ensure feeding
and breeding), "Nature" during the
aeons of experimentation which we
call "Evolution" has developed a va-
riety of fixed preservative instincts,
traits, and characteristics in the animal
world. From the animal world, we
as animals have inherited such of these
instincts, traits, and characteristics as
were necessary or most favorable to
Man's survival and present dominance.
"Gifts": Peculiarly Human.
In addition to these, man lias ac-
quired, attained, or been endowed
with "gifts" peculiar to himself which
render him unique — Consciousness of
Self, Freedom of Choice, and Purpos-
A Cosmic Invitation.
By these latter acquisitions, Man
has been placed in the peculiar situa-
tion of being an invited participator
in the evolutionary process, including
also the working of this cosmic pro-
cess as concerns himself.
This momentous invitation he is
free to accept or reject.
If he accepts the invitation he as-
sumes its inherently implied terms.
He assumes responsibility for the out-
come of his interference with the
evolutionary process. He gets the
benefits which his intelligent co-opera-
tion may bring him, and the accom-
plishment of his own desires, but, also,
he must bear the pains and penalties
of his own foolish actions.
If he accepts the invitation to take
a responsible part in his own evolu-
tion, he has at his disposal all of the
active forces of Nature including those
which motivate himself, — his bodily
mechanism, his instincts, his procliv-
ities, his economic traits, his intelli-
gence — to make or mar himself and
If he docs not accept the invitation
to participate in the miracle of ere-
ation and the Cosmic Enterprise, the
Great Undertaking: goes on without a
flicker of disturbance — indifferent to
his existence — or what amounts to the
.same, regardless of outcomes which
are humanly desirable.
All of this means that human soci-
ety as it exists today is the end-result
of these various factors.
If the outcome does not please or
suit us it is our own fault and the
remedy lies in our own hands — with
the proviso that we realize the terms
of the implied contract and under-
stand the nature of the instrumentali-
ties at our disposal with which to
realize our purposes.
Conditioned on Understanding.
In brief then, all human accom-
plishment, all invention, all attainment
of anything "new," are conditioned on
an understanding of the facts and laws
of nature involved and the choice of
an appropriate relation to them, with
reference to the determined purpose.
Society is a structure based, like
everything else in the universe, on na-
ture-given facts and laws.
The prerequisite then to our present
endeavor, to map out a course of so-
cial progress, is to have a clear under-
standing of the facts and laws of na-
ture involved: of which the first item
is society's composition.
Man is a strong, skilful, cunning an-
imal endowed with freedom of choice.
Some are characteristically Strong,
some arc characteristically Skilful,
some are characteristically Cunning.
In others, again, these basic traits are
merged in varying proportions.
The Social Elements — the essential
(or main) parts of society — then are
the groups formed primarily by the
working out of the instinctive proclivi-
ties which I briefly sketched in the
opening part of the first series of
The Economic Traits, strength,
skill, cunning and the instincts, to live,
to make, to control, to take, have
founded and formed our social struc-
ture, in which they are still recogniz-
able as its four great elements: Labor,
Skill, Tally, ("Capital"), Organization
By Labor I mean that activity
which is chiefly muscular effort. It
is obviously the foundation of all
other activities whatever, and as such
it engrosses the effort of the great
majority — the bulk of "the people".
Their motive urge is mainly "to
live". They are impelled by no other
special impetus towards any particu-
lar form of activity. Those who do
the bulk of the world's work there-
fore find self-expression in the meas-
ure in which their work conduces to
the satisfaction of their instinct "to
Thwart this, and Labor balks.
Skill, expressing the instinct "to
make", must be taken in a sense wide
enough to embrace not only dex-
terity, but also usable knowledge of
matters and things conducive to phys-
ical accomplishment. The Skill ele-
ment of society holds the scientist as
well as the artisan, philosophy as
well as technology.
The function of such a Skill ele-
ment in a rationally, purposefully or-
ganized society is self-evident. How
woefully far from this it departs in
the actually existing society is like-
Whenever team-work is under way
— or for that matter team-play — there
is need of a record of each man's
.performance. To keep such record
is the function of the Tally element
This colorless, yet all-important,
function the cunning instinct "to
take" early made its own. The em-
bodiments of that urge made them-
selves the keepers of the social tally-
sheet — the "Financiers".
The Organization element coordi-
nates and supervises the work of so-
ciety. It prescribes what should and
what should not be done, in relation
to the work in hand — the purpose.
This element embraces the "author-
ities", the "government", the "em-
Necessity and Freedom.
The quality uniformly exhibited by
all four social elements is their in-
stinctiveness. The}' have developed
from inward necessity.
But there is no such inner neces-
sity for their interrelation, their co-
ordination and combination into a
social machine as a whole. That is
not a matter of instinctive urge, but
a problem of intelligence.
The present chaotic lack of co-
ordination is due to lack of social
purposive intelligence; it is the "nat-
ural result of (and has been de-
termined by) failure (socially) to
exercise Man's transcendent preroga-
tive: Freedom of Choice — freedom to
choose his relation to natural forces
in such manner as to make them
subserve his predetermined united
purpose — Community objective.
War of Instincts.
Indeed, each element, far from
uniting with the others in purpose, is
"naturally" fighting every other for a
greater gratification of its own "nat-
ural" urge, and the all-embracing
urge of instinctive self-preservation.
It is in highest degree probable
that, typically, the four instinct-char-
acterized groups of modern society —
the Masses, the Artisans, the Em-
ployers, the Financiers — do not think.
Thinking is not their social func-
tion; they merely respond to the
urge of their dominating instincts —
the Masses to breed, the Artisan to
make, the Employer to energize, the
Financier to hoard — instincts which
characterize separately many animals
other than Man.
These various social groups in-
stinctively resist any social conditions
or conventions that tend to hamper
the functioning urge of their char-
acterizing instinct and instinctively
struggle for its greater gratification —
hence our "Social Problems".
What Is the Social Problem?
The Scientists — scattered and few
in number but socially significant — do
think; it is their social function to
think, to rationalize with constructive
imagination. It is the Scientist's
function to solve problems, to pio-
neer, to blaze a trail into the un-
known — to illumine the path of Social
Clearly it is the Scientist's social
function to straighten out social
snarls, to unravel social tangles:
To so organize society that human
freedom and self-expression will be
the product of and result from the
rational relationing, the coordinate
functioning and gratification of the
That is the Scientist's great task.
That is our Social Problem.
Socially, Man has remained a mere-
ly instinctively acting animal. He has
never unitedly pondered a social pur-
pose, reflected on a freely chosen
When our inspection of the Cali-
fornia had disclosed its constituent
elements, we knew as readily for
what purpose they were to work to-
gether: we knew what the battleship
But for what socially determined
end do our Financiers finance, our
inventors invent, our laborers labor?
What is the purpose of Society?
Is it not true that, judging from
society as it is, we must say it has
Is it any wonder then, that we
have a "Social Problem", and that
most men face it in utter bewilder-
To deal effectively with the social
problem requires then, first of all,
that men become conscious of a so-
cial purpose. And a very little reflec-
tion will disclose the enormous dif-
ference which a difference of purpose
effects with regard to otherwise iden-
The same purposive skill that
makes — feloniously breaks.
Bees and Profiteers.
Our profiteers have been filling
their coffers just as bees are filling
their combs. Essentially their activ-
ities proceed from the same source:
instinctive drive to hoard.
Bee and profiteer are equally "sel-
Each acts in obedience to the de-
mand for self-expression. But win Te-
as the utility of the profiteer's hoard
(if it has any true utility at all) is
for himself alone and prejudicial to
society, the bee's honey hoard is for
the whole hive.
What "Nature" has contrived in
thus shaping toward an ulterior pur-
pose the instinctive activities of a
lowly insect, men must accomplish
in their social arrangements by the
exercise of their distinctively human
qualities: reason, freedom and purpose.
No Use Calling Names.
It is quite needless and useless to
single out the profiteer for moral ob-
jurgation; and in many, if not most
cases it would be unjust to boot. His
profit-gouging comes not from moral
depravity, but from a special bent of
mind, a particular ability: and our so-
ciety, imprimis our quaint system of
"finance," gives no scope to that abil-
ity — except to gouge the public.
Yet that ability — in its essence,
instinctive hoarding — has a social util-
ity of the highest order. And in an
enlightened society, that is one pur-
posively organized, it would not only
find scope for its exercise for the
public good, but be spontaneously so
exercised, and with no less gratifica-
tion for its possessor.
The War Illustration.
Of how this might be accomplished,
the War has already given us a
The men who were called to mobi-
lize the social forces of the United
States were commonly the very men
whose pre-war activities had been
more notorious for amassing huge pri-
vate fortunes than celebrated for self-
less public service.
Between the high officials of the
War Industries Board, the Shipping
Board, and so forth, and the member-
ship of a "Millionaires' Club" there
was little discernible difference of per-
Charles M. Schwab, the finance
magnate, and Schwab, the war-organ-
izer, were the same person.
All these men brought to their so-
cial, national jobs the very same tal-
ents that they had been employing
right along self-centeredly — unsocial-
ly, un-nationally. The work they did,
their proximate functioning, was the
same as before.
But what a difference in social re-
They were acting for a different
purpose. That really makes up the
whole of the difference.
The skill that feloniously breaks —
can also make.
Where these hurriedly assembled
mobilizcrs fell short of efficacy it was
in the measure of their failure to
equate completely their aims with the
It is worth while considering how
it was that men pre-eminent for ca-
pacity of self-aggrandisement, for
their ability, to put it in plain words,
of using the Nation for their own pri-
vate aims and advantage, came to
make the Nation's purpose their own.
The outstanding fact is that they
did it of their own free will.
The deeper lying fact is that they
responded to the greater inducement:
public good was a stronger stimulus,
a greater "temptation," than private
The decisive fact is that such re-
sponse was made possible and induced
by the (even if only crude and tem-
porary) rearrangement of the social
elements for the attainment of a Na-
Add to this the perception, for
which I have so often contended, that
there is no blinder folly than that
which sees in "work" nothing but "the
primal curse"; and that, on the con-
trary, doing — which is only another
name for work — is the very essence
and end of man's living, provided
only it be the purposive work of his
heart — and you have the whole foun-
dation of the psychology of social re-
Order, Purpose, Freedom.
Freedom is the first law of Man's
Any social convention or construc-
tion which does violence to the free-
dom of the individual, of the group,
or of the Nation as a whole, is
doomed to inevitable failure.
If any single cause is to be given
for the social failure which we now
so anxiously face, this cause, which
earlier I have formulated as the ab-
sence of purposive design, may well
be formulated as the infraction of the
basic law of freedom. For in a chance-
made agglomeration true Freedom can
not arise and act, any more than in a
It is only in a true Order, in a pur-
posively designed and rationally com-
bined society, that Freedom can find
the conditions for its effective being,
its self-realizing activity.
Disorder — Jungle Law — Restraint.
Obviously there can be no real hu-
man freedom in a society based on
primeval jungle law, only license and
restraint. When it is the sole acting
principle, (even if not the preaching
of the pulpit) that he may take who
has the power, and he shall keep who
can, what can be the issue but intra-
social warfare? — and, still more re-
pugnant, a warfare in which victory
is not to the strong, clean and cour-
ageous, but to the sordid, tricky and
Let us not be misled by surface ap-
pearances. Ostensibly the mine owner
has more freedom than the miner, the
manufacturer than the mechanic, the
merchant than the clerk. More pro-
foundly, one is found to be as unfree
as the other. For freedom implies do-
ing one's reasoned will. But as mem-
bers of a planless social monstrosity,
no man can be a free agent. All are
caught in the same chaotic social
tangle; none guide their course by
anything better than chance and their
Reason and Freedom.
These instincts, as I have pointed
out, are natural forces. And I have
also shown how Man, the Mechanic,
has achieved his conquests by bring-
ing his Reason and Freedom of Choice
to bear on natural forces: not in crazy
hope of changing them, but to make
I hem the realizing means for his rea-
son and freedom — for his purpose.
Even thus is the task of Man, the
Our reconstructive effort must be
so to reconstruct or rearrange the
social mechanism as to utilize the
unchangeable instincts, the economic
traits (that is, the natural forces in
our problem) for the accomplishment
of a united social purpose, a National
Man a Spiritual Entity.
I have spoken so much in terms of
mechanics that it may not be amiss
to guard here against the imputation
that I conceive of human life in such
terms. My conception is indeed the
very opposite of that. Man (though
functioning in a mechanistic world
through a bodily machine) is above
all a spiritual entity; and his ma-
terial and mechanical concerns and
affairs are of importance only in so
far as they affect his spiritual being.
To avoid misunderstanding, it should
be borne in mind that "Society" as
used herein means the total of all
those constituting the Nation — "tinker.
tailor, soldier, sailor, rich man, poor
man, beggarman, thief", et al. ; but
that Social Functioning includes only
a limited part of their life in its
Social functioning is the service part
of modern collective (gregarious) life
— for material well-being. Its relation
to national life is analogous to that
which the kitchen and service part in
a well ordered household bears to the
life of the family.
And, national economics is merely
household economics expanded.
"Society" a Machine.
This is not the place for expound-
ing at length my social philosophy.
But it will suffice, as a guiding thread,
to indicate that my conception of
Society is the corollary of my concep-
tion of Man.
That is, I view society as a mechan-
ical contrivance for the satisfaction
of man's material needs; for the ul-
terior object of freeing his spiritual
self. What ministers directly to his
spiritual wants and his spiritual life
itself, lies as clearly outside of the
social organization, as outside- the ma-
It is in this sense also that I hold
that man does not exist for society
(as certain ardent social reformers
would have us imagine), but society
Within this frame, society resolves
itself, structurally and functionally,
into Production, Distribution, and
Under the term Production or Pro-
ductive Group is implied that part of
the community which skillfully deals
with nature's forces and materials;
which familiarizes itself with all mat-
ters relating to the physical environ-
ment of the human aggregation. Its
function is to extract, produce and
arrange all things and physical con-
ditions desirable and necessary to the
well-being of the organization.
Its membership is characterized by
skill and strength, by curiosity ration-
alized into desire to know, and by
a beaver-like urge — the instinct to
This group is not the representative
of the community, nor is its function
that of guardian, custodian, organizer,
supervisor, or unifier of the composite
group, nor has it rightly any of these
functions. This Productive Group is
the transforming element of tJie Social
The Labor Element we find in prac-
tice also assumes the functions of the
Directive and Distributive Groups in
many ways and details. And attempt-
ing to perform these functions so for-
eign to its character, specialized apti-
tude, and economic trait, it does much
harm and adds misdirected energy to
Taking into consideration, however,
the history of this group — its age-long
grinding between the upper and nether
millstones of Cunning-Strong and
Tricksy-Cunning — the wonder is, not
that the results are as thev are, but
rather that this group still persists
in its efforts to perform any of its
rightful functions, and that it has not
long ago by the misdirection of its
energy wrecked the whole structure;
as it has often, seemingly, been on the
ragged edge of doing. Were it not for
its ineradicable instinctive urge, this
doubtless would have been the result.
It is not without significance that
the Distributive Group is satisfied
with present conventions and desper-
ately fears change, while the Product-
ive Group is fiercely dissatisfied, and
welcomes any change.
"Production" has been of late very
much to the fore in the public prints.
The whole civilized world, our own
country included, we are told, is not
producing enough. Production, we arc
told, must be increased by greater in-
dustry and "efficiency."
As an inventor, that is one engaged
in devising ways and means for do-
ing something in a new and better
way, I may be credited with having
a sufficiently high regard for effi-
ciency. Yet I own that, as currently
conceived and employed, "efficiency"
is my pet aversion. Nothing provokes
me to more laughter or anger.
A notion of efficiency that focuses
on the product, instead of the pro-
ducer, misses the point completely.
Such "efficiency" is really (humanly
and socially) inefficiency.
Therefore, when I outline the task
of social reconstruction as an appro-
priate organization of production, dis-
tribution, and direction, there are to
be constantly held in mind and applied
the ultimate criteria: a free unfolding
of the spirit, a free manhood, a free
Under the term Distribution or Dis-
tributive Group are implied those indi-
viduals whose function in the social
organization is to keep tally and effect
the distribution of products and
wealth equitably and impartially to
all the individuals of all the groups
in accordance with their effectiveness
and the best interests of the commun-
ity at large.
A truly magnificent function!
The "Capitalist Element" in prac-
tice, as the "Money Power" or "the
Interests", interferes most energetic-
ally and unjustifiably in matters
wholly outside its sphere.
It has, in fact, assumed, through its
taxing power, the functions of "Gov-
ernment" and control over the life and
activities of every individual in the
community. It has missed its way and
is more distorted (if such be possible)
than either of the other groups. To it
is attributable in greater measure the
social disturbance and confusion at
This group is characterized by an
economic trait due to its (Tricksy-
Cunning) origin — its members have
an inherent parasitic tendency and a
bee-like hoarding urge — the instinct
This group is not the community's
representative any more than is the
Productive group; it is not the guard-
ian or unifier; nor has it any of the
functions of government, though it
has assumed many of them. Neither
does it deal with nature's forces or
materials; it has no concern with phy-
sical environment or natural re-
sources; it does not extract or pro-
duce things from nature's stores; it
does not make, produce, or create
wealth; its functions are neither gov-
ernmental nor productive in any sense.
It is simply the bookkeeper, the
clerk, of the community — the record-
ing or tabulating element of the so-
And yet it has arranged conventions
of distribution for its own exclusive
It has appointed itself an unofficial
and irresponsible custodian of the
community's wealth in process of dis-
tribution. Out of the community's
wealth flowing through its channels,
it pays itself such wages as it deems
its due for performing these services
and functions. In addition to this, it
retains possessio'n of various forms of
conventional increment accruing to
the flowing wealth during the distrib-
utive process. These increments are
deemed, by tacit acceptance of con-
ventions made by the Distributive
Group, to be its property. So this ac-
quisitive group acts as distributive
agent for producer and the commun-
ity, and custodian of the products,
while at the same time it is active as
an untrammeled trader on its own
behalf in and with the community's
By the terms Direction or Directive
Group is implied that part of the na-
tion which neither produces nor dis-
tributes, but represents the whole
composite group, the community.
It is that part which, as representa-
tive, is guardian, supervisor, and uni-
fier. Its function is to facilitate the
correct working of all the ramifying
parts of the other elements, so as to
bring about harmonious co-action of
the entire social organization. It is
the "governor" or strain and speed
equalizer of the social machine.
The "Government", in practice, ex-
ercises all these social functions in-
extricably tangled up with the pro-
ductive and distributive elements in
most of their details.
Government makes, manufactures,
and exploits; it keeps tally of pro-
ducts and distributes them more or
less ineffectively; and while remain-
ing Government in name, it per-
forms all these other functions to
such an extent that it is difficult
to determine which most definitely
characterizes it in reality.
This confusion of function seems
to be the logical outcome of the
(Cunning-Strong) genesis of the
group, with its inherent lust for
power and dominion — the instinct
Social Mechanic's Task.
What then is the task of Man, the
Primarily, it is to extricate the ba-
sic three-fold elements of the social
mechanism from the present confu-
sion and distortion; and, in the light
of and under the guidance of Science,
so to organize these fundamental
functions: Production, Distribution,
and Direction, that they will serve
the social purpose, the national ob-
What the Trouble Is.
As it stands now, the Social Ma-
chine is a product of nature-made
conditions, and not a construction of
self-conscious human intelligence di-
rected to the accomplishment of a
predetermined human purpose.
Man has never attempted to organ-
ize his Social Machinery to accom-
plish a socially unified object. And
Nature docs not stop, simply because
man acts like a fool. Nature truly
abhors a vacuum — especially a va-
cuity of intelligence.
Man has tinkered with many social
details — he has never tackled the So-
That is the whole trouble with the
The situation is not unlike that of
a machine-shop in which a lot of
mentally deranged mechanics would
find themselves while gradually and
unequally convalescing toward ra-
They find the engine and machin-
ery (Nature) all running smoothly,
but also they find themselves (with
more or less bewilderment) indi-
vidually and in bunches, marvelously
and solemnly busy doing, with great
skill, all manner of grotesque stunts:
stoking the furnaces with their wom-
en and children, feeding their young
men to the ponderous grinding and
crushing machines; tirelessly dump-
ing the most valued and useful prod-
ucts of their bodies, brains, and
skill, to the smashing "dead-falls"
and scrapping "go-devils", to be
crushed to human slimes and refuse;
and in a multitude of other ways in-
geniously employing their (Nature-
made) facilities and capabilities to
produce all kinds of silly outcomes —
unlikable to their awakening intelli-
The condition thus disclosed they
call their "Social Problem".
Man Is Free.
Man has a living Godlike soul
which is free. As a "person" — a spir-
itual entity — a Man is not a machine,
is not subject to control by any
power in the Universe except him-
self, and except in so far as — by an
exercise of his freedom — he volun-
In so far as he does submit to
force or irrational control, he be-
comes a mere product — a machine;
he contracts his own soul and di-
minishes that transcendent quality of
Godship which makes him a Man —
A Purposive Social Machine.
I firmly believe that Man is, and
the Universe is, so constituted that
Human Intelligence can construct a
Rational Social Machine; that if Man
earnestly desires and has the cour-
age seriously to undertake the task,
he can make an infinitely more
smooth-running, humanly efficient, and
humanly purposive arrangement than
the humanly objectless, inhumanly
cruel, and incredibly wasteful Stone
Age animalistic abortion to which he
now submits — that Man can make a
Social Machine worthy of Man, the
Human Intelligence or Animal
"Nature", while on one hand seem-
ingly reckless of "waste", is on the
other obviously economical — struct-
ures, functions, and "gifts" not used,
atrophy and disappear.
If then Man, in social relation, fails
to use his "gifts", these will atrophy
■ — be recalled. And Man's social devel-
opment will run not in accord with his
intelligence, but in accord with his
animal instincts, dominated by the
most basic of all, the anti-social (in-
dividual) self-preservation instinct — ■
dog-eat-dog — jungle law.
Science a Fulcrum.
It may seem that I have made of
the existing social disorder an ar-
raignment of Man's competence. I
have charged him with folly, with fail-
ure to use his greatest gifts: reason
Perhaps he can bring forward exten-
uations. Perhaps the time had not
come — till now.
Perhaps there has been neither lack
of human intelligence nor lack of wil-
lingness to use it. Perhaps he really
could not use it, did not know how
For one thing he lacked, which has
come only in our own day: Experi-
Science is a firm fulcrum for the
lever of thought.
It is a fulcrum securely resting upon
the eternal facts and laws of nature.
It is a fulcrum that rests upon
phenomenal truth, which rests upon
Nature's immanent Essential Truth
that makes for universal right-eous-
ness — mechanistic validity, personal
worth, social right.
The philosophers and thinkers of
the past lacked that fulcrum. At the
best, they could be only good guess-
ers. There is no lack of intelligence
or high spirituality in Plato's "Re-
public", in More's "L T topia", and in
their many followers.
But they all lacked, and all they
Fernwald, Berkeley, California.
November 21, 1920.
lacked was, the firm fulcrum of
This we now possess.
Now only has Technocracy become
a realizable ideal.
This transcendent acquisition and
necessary instrumentality — Science —
is now ours to freely use or freely
abuse — abuse to our irrecoverable
hurt or utilize for our ever increasing
and true prosperity.
This is our signal acquisition as
compared with the past, our signifi-
cant point of progress. And by its aid
(if we choose) we (socially still in
the pre-scientific period) may at last
achieve also social progress.
And thus, by the means of nation-
ally organized Science, we may be-
come the first real nation, a truly
united people with a worth-while na-
tional objective — a true Industrial
Democracy — an intelligentlv purpose-
CAN MODERN MECHANIZED SOCIETY SAFELY RELY
UPON TRADITIONAL ECONOMIC CUSTOMS?
Reprinted from the Gazette, Berkeley, California
Copyright, 1921, by W. H. Smyth.
Animal-man and Man-animal:
A Working Understanding of Man the Social Unit.
By William Henry Smyth
It is very important in these days of confusion that those who are
trying to make this a better and more liveable world, should understand
one another in every way possible. For this reason it gives me pleasure
to say that, having read Part I of my neighbor Mr. Smyth's Tech-
nocracy (Third Series), I find myself in hearty accord with it in the
main; especially in the central place which he gives to Personality and
Freedom. This evaluation of Personality opens a way to a moral and
spiritual, as well as social and industrial advance.
With the severity of Mr. Smyth's indictment of early man and of
modern society I cannot agree; but his forward look and many of his
ideas are vigorous and suggestive.
June 17, 1921. JOHN WRIGHT BUCKHAM.
(John Wright Buckham, D. D., is the distinguished scholar who holds
the chair of Christian Theology in the Pacific School of Religion. He
is the author of "Personality and the Christian Ideal," "Progressive Re-
ligious Thojught in America," "Mysticism and Modern Life," etc.)
NOTE: The First and Second Series of these Technocracy essays
were devoted almost exclusively to social Mechanics; in the present series
the emphasis is upon the still more important element in our Social
Problem — the social mechanic himself — Man.
This Third Technocracy Series aims at a "working understanding"
of man, that supreme paradox — a free spirit expressing itself individually
and socially through a physical body. It aims at such understanding
of man, lacking which, an understanding of "society" cannot be had,
and without which a solution of our Social Problem is an obvious impos-
Part I: Deals with the spirit of man — his unconditioned self — per-
sonality; Human relationship to a universe at once creative and conditioned
by its own laws; and shows how by knowledge of and purposive action
toward those laws, the human being gains freedom and action worthy of
his free essence. Thus man can "humanize" man's own animal nature,
and produce the social instrumentalities appropriate to "human" self-
Personality. wise hamper its self-expression, but
The human personality we know eacri would still remain gloriously
as Christ, or as Socrates, or as human, ^and act in accord with his
Shakespeare, or as Newton, impris- "human" character,
oned (as was, indeed, almost the case These extreme examples serve to
of the philosopher) in the body of illustrate a general proposition ap-
a gorilla, would not be essentially plying to all men.
changed thereby. The inappropriate It is that intangible elemental
embodiment might, it is true, some- something (defying analysis), spirit,
soul, personality — call it what you
will — that transforms the animal-man
into the man-animal — into a human
Personality a Basic Fact.
As to this there can be no argu-
ment. It is cither obvious, self-evi-
dent, or all discussion regarding hu-
manity — individually or collectively —
Such as cannot accept this basic
proposition will merely waste their
time to travel with me further on
the tour of investigation I contem-
To those, however, who, like my-
self, deem it axiomatic, it should be
of surpassing interest to join in an
earnest effort to investigate how the
wondrous combination of free spirit
and physical machine — personality
and animal body— coact and function
together in the practical affairs of
It is not of pertinent interest here
to inquire how or by what omni-
potent process of invention or by
what miracle of Cosmic Self-expres-
sion this unique combination came
That fact is our starting point.
Starting with this it will be the
aim of this essay to get such Avork-
ing understanding of Man, as dis-
played in his social activity, as will
aid in solving some of the difficul-
ties (flowing from this fact) which
confront us in our troublous "Social
Man an Animal — Plus.
Man, then, in one respect is truly
an animal, linked to his animal an-
cestors by his physical structure and
his animal instincts. Thus, like other
animals, he is subject to all natural
laws which undeviatingly govern ani-
mate nature — heat scorches, cold
chills, falling rocks crush, torrents
whelm, starvation weakens, sex de-
sires and other passions drive furi-
What makes Man more and other
than an animal is his self-conscious-
ness, his reason, his constructive
imagination, his freedom of choice;
in a word, his Spirit — not possessed
either by his brute ancestors or by
his present day animal fellows.
Human in Humanity.
Accepting these propositions (not
as verbal or academic admissions
but — ) as valid in practical effect, it
at once ceases to be matter for won-
der that sometimes Man acts like
an animal, at others with God-like
purpose; and — inhumanity in man be-
comes merely the failure of' the hu-
man in humanity.
Further, it is obvious that man's
acquisition of human qualities does
not change the facts of heat, cold,
torrents, etc. — nature — but does pro-
foundly change man's effective re-
Self-consciousness enabled Man to
perceive himself as something other
and apart from the rest of nature both
organic and inorganic, including his
animal fellows and his fellow men. He
became to himself an individual, an
entity in whom he has overwhelming
personal interest. He knows himself
as a source of pains and pleasures dis-
tinctly his own; an entity whose ani-
mate and inanimate friends and ene-
mies are matters personaT to himself —
his friends to be favored by him, his
enemies to be — by him — fought and
His dawning reason, supplementing
instinct , taught him that the shade of
a tree or of a rock mitigates the
scorching heat of the sun and the
piercing cold of the blizzard; that by
suitably locating his distance from a
devouring blaze he changes its pain-
ful effects into pleasant sensations;
that the torrent that could sweep him
to destruction may also transport him
without effort, in a desired direction.
These and many other useful lessons
his reason sums up in the dimly per-
ceived but profoundly true generaliza-
Animate and inanimate surround-
ings ("environment") are friendly or
otherwise to Man depending on how
he acts toward them. (Religion and
Science — the two most energizing pro-
ducts of organized human thought —
flow directly and derive their energy
from this simple notion).
Then comes his constructive imagi-
nation, mentally reconstructing earlier
pleasures and pains, and urging him
to renew in physical realization the
pictured joys of the past and prevent
the recurrence of remembered mis-
Last, and most important, freedom
of choice, guided by experience, rea-
son, and imagination, permits him to
select which rock, which torrent,
which thing, which act (out of the
many and varieties of each presented
for choice) as best serving the prob-
able accomplishment of his desires,
and which to reject to avoid mishaps.
So starts humanity's upward course.
In breathing into animal-man His
spirit, verily! "God blessed them, (and
truly!) God said unto them: Be fruit-
ful and multiply, and replenish the
earth and subdue it."
The brute's acquisition of "human"
qualities did not and does not change
the facts of nature nor the effects of
its laws. It is equally clear that it
did and does profoundly modify man's
possible and probable response to
these and hence their effect upon him.
Heat, cold, rock, torrent, animal in-
stincts, "passions" arc still as potential
of destruction as ever, but not to man
— if he so chooses.
All nature and its urges, all its
forces and its laws have become po-
tentially his friends, if he so chooses
and — his choice is constructively and
A Social Principle.
Clearly then (let me nail it here, in
passing): It is a first principle of so-
cial design to so arrange and order
the social structure that the animal
instincts may not run counter to and
shall act in unison with collective "hu-
man" purposes. And therefore it be-
comes a principle of social construc-
tion to provide avenues of utilization
for these indestructible natural forces,
in substantially the same manner and
method by which the mechanic m> suc-
cessfully deals with like problems of
seemingly conflicting and indestruct-
ible forces in machine design.
Before there can be a group there
must, of course, be units to form it;
so there must be individuals before
there can be society. The character
and possibilities of a society must
necessarily rest upon the nature and
capabilities of its component individ-
Alan, as we arc agreed, is a free
spirit, acting, functioning or express-
ing itself through the medium of an
animal body that is an animate physi-
In using the word "free" there is
implied activity, and not merely cha-
otic motion, but choiceful, purposeful
action: preference to go in this direc-
tion rather than that, to do some par-
ticular thing rather than some other.
An Infernal World.
This free choosing man, however,
has become conscious of himself ; con-
scious that he is; conscious not only
that he is, but (to some "more or less
satisfactory extent) where he is at,
what he is up against. He has become
conscious to the extent at least that
he is in a surrounding world of physi-
cal things and forces, a world that
jogs along in most unpleasant disre-
garded indifference to his wishes, if
indeed not diabolically adverse from
them. Naively, this to him is an in-
fernal world of storms and floods,
scorching heats and freezing colds,
rocks and sharp things which pain-
fully bark his shins and tear his flesh,
and of a myriad beasts, demons, and
bugaboos that will surely make an end
of him — if he don't look out!
Even his own particular body, that
is his own inseparable property, has
tricks and manners of its own which
cause him no end of discomfort and
much annoyance; it experiences freez-
ing chills, torrid fevers, furious pas-
sions, exhausting fatigue, recurrently
ravenous hunger; its joints stiffen, its
parts break, its sense organs get agley
in a multitude of disconcerting ways;
and all these haps happen quite re-
gardless of his wants and wishes; and
surely will make an end of him — if he
don't look out!
Circumventing Its Devils.
Having, however, an overwhelming
interest in and regard for himself,
man calls on his reason — poor and
imperfect though it be — to aid him
in avoiding these various mishaps
and circumventing the malignity of
their diabolical instigators.
Unfriendly haps and malignant
traps are so incessant that poor
reason has a mighty busy time of it
and is kept everlastingly on the job,
alert and at work, and with no union
or umpire to call time.
So by constant exercise, and a
growing stock of remembered and
available experiences of past suc-
cesses, hard-worked reason grad-
ually develops and gets more and
miore effective to meet emergencies.
Partial successes in the past are im-
proved upon in the present; previous
seemingly successful circumventings
which subsequent experience proves
to have brought worse consequences
than those intended to be avoided,
are next time handled with more
Thus slowly is evolved the notion
that not alone is the present diffi-
culty to be met, but the possible or
probable effect of the remedy is to
be taken into consideration, as an
essential element of every remedial
Now vs. Later.
So reason makes possible the
weighing and measuring of wants
and wishes: makes possible the ra-
tional comparison of later comfort
against present gratification; makes
possible to put into the scales of
experience the fvrn of gorging now,
regardless of starvation later, to be
weighed against less joyous present
moderation, regardful of freedom
from later total abstinence.
Mr. W. Man— A Parable
Mr. Wise Man, very hungry, very
tired, and miles from home and din-
ner; luscious looking, good smelling,
dainty tasting "mushrooms"
Beast Hunger growls and whines
pitifully protesting . . .
Reason whispers: "Caution!"
Appetite urges in loud and imperi-
ous tones: "Eat! eat! satisfy the
beast lest worse happen!"
Reason whispers: "Caution!"
And all alert, on the job, nudges
Imagination, to (pictorially) twist
Man's in'ards into hard and painful
knots, vividly re-presenting those
physical and almost disastrous ex-
periences of last summer.
"Look!" says Reason . . . "and
— squirm! It's safer to squirm now
at imaginary kinks than later at
real knots in your little insides."
"Remember," says Reason, "and
consider, if you want to continue
your mundane existence and really
value those plans you seemed to
have so much at heart — those seduc-
tive fungi may not be mushrooms —
"Look! — consider the pictures, and
squirm some more!"
"Then, forget your fatigue, disre-
gard your hunger, take up a couple of
holes in your belt, and strike for
"Get busy! — March!"
So Mr. W. Man — listening to the
voice of reason — gets home, still very
hungry, still very tired, enjoys his
dinner, realizes his plans, and his
days are long in the land.
Thus reason substitutes rational
desire and higher aspirations for
"natural" instincts and "lower" ap-
petite. Sets up mediate and dis-
tant ends, as against immediate
gratification: the ultimate (and last-
ing) against the immediate (tem-
porary and lesser) good.
"Good" clearly implies preference;
a "good" direction is that in which
one would go; a "good" object, the
thing one would possess; a "good"
action, that which one would willing-
ly do; freedom in esse — effective
To Cunning Strong "good" means
unlimited control; to Skilful Strong,
"good" means unlimited opportunity
for the fruitful exercise of construc-
tive skill; to Tricksy Cunning "good"
means unlimited scope for acquisi-
tion; to Simple Strong "good" means
opportunity to live unhampered his
Thus, to the Strong, or the Skilful,
or the Cunning, or the Simple,
"good" means the realization of his
characterizing wants and wishes. To
each and all, however, (regardless ot
nature-determined instincts, appe-
tites, urges, or economic traits,)
"good" means to "make good."
It means self-initiated develop-
ment to the nth degree.
"Good" means realized "personal"
"There Are Others."
Self-conspiousness it is which
makes possible that momentous
question: what will it profit me?
Wherein is it to my "good"?
But the stupendous fact of self-
consciousness brings with it another
rivalling it in importance.
As, humanly speaking, there could
be no "In" lacking an "Out," no
"Top" lacking a "Bottom," no "East"
lacking a "West": so there could be
no recognition of "Self" lacking rec-
ognition of "Other-selves", no "Self-
consciousness" lacking its twin,
The Me and The Many.
This recognition, then, that "there
are others," coupled with that basic
human discovery: animate and inani-
mate surroundings (environment)
are friendly or otherwise to "me"
depending on how I act toward
"them," necessarily brings about the
question: what must I do to profit
others? — and culminates in the higher
and more complex self-consciousness
in which the "me" is not only con-
scious of, but rationally reciprocal
with, the many.
Hence comes the "family," the
group, society — the Nation.
A Rocky Road.
But it is a long, long way from
these basic notions of individual
character to their functioning smooth-
ly in a rationally organized society.
And truly! unfriendly haps and
malignant traps are so fearsomely
numerous, and confusingly incessant,
that poor undeveloped human reason
has a mighty busy time of it dodging
social disaster by the way. For the
social journey is not alone through
an unmapped country fertile of se-
ductive poisonous fungi; it is also be-
set with all manner of pitfalls, treach-
erous morasses of ignorance, rock
barriers of established custom, raging
torrents of ancient superstition, ma-
lignant difficulties (many real, more
imaginary), all kinds and descriptions
of irrationalities., bestial instincts, de-
mon appetites, and goggle-eyed bol-
sheviki bugaboos, that surely will
make and end of us — if we don't
In general terms our "working un-
derstanding" amounts to this:
Alan is a free spirit, and as such is
outside and beyond the laws which
govern the physical universe. His
thoughts (personal and spiritual life)
are his own and have only self-im-
Man is an animal — an animate
mechanism — and as such he is subject
to and conditioned by all the laws of
nature, mechanistic and animalistic.
Man is a combination of spirit and
animal and as such (potentially) en-
joys practically limitless though con-
ditioned freedom. There is (substan-
tially) no limit to his thoughts, and
the limits to his acts are (potentially)
the boundaries of the physical uni-
verse. His body is subject to the
laws of chemistry, hygiene, mechan-
ics, etc.; and he is at liberty to ex-
press his mental freedom physically,
in any manner or direction, subject
only to the laws of the physical uni-
verse involved in his purpose.
Alan is fundamentally a rational be-
ing, (free to express irrationality),
hence must express reason or act
contrary to his essential being — and
suffer the consequences.
Alan is hot only an individual en-
tity, he is fundamentally a social be-
ing; hence he must not only express
rational individuality, but also ra-
tional mutuality, in order to act in
accordance with his essential being.
Alan, the social being, contacts with
other social beings only in the world
of things and acts, hence must act,
man toward man, and man toward
environment, and so arrange man-
made environment — society — that
neither individual nor collective ac-
tivity contravene nature's physical
laws or human nature — or suffer nat-
The consequences — "punishment" —
following individual irrationality are
sickness, accident, failure to accom-
plish, and all the myriad of obvious
(and obscure) futilities.
The consequences — "punishment" —
following social irrationality are sim-
ilar to those of the individual multi-
plied, together with characteristically
collective futilities — debt, H. C. L.
financial slavery, discontent, high
death-rate, war, — our "Social Prob-
Still, this more or less valid and
definite "working understanding" of
the individual should be helpful to
clear up some of the besetting diffi-
culties, by enabling us to avoid blind
paths leading nowhere; by enabling
us to recognize social expedients
which are unadapted to the normal
functioning of human character, and
by preventing futile attempts to force
impossibilities upon human nature.
Do and Dare.
Courage is the virtue of virtues.
Truly, naive man sorely needed
courage in his life-and-death "contest
with nature". But courage unguided
is only sublime folly, which intelli-
gent purpose alone can transform
into effective rationality.
To use his spiritual freedom, to be
free, man must do and dare; and to
do anything worth doing, man must
learn and respect the mechanical uni-
verse in which the doing must be
A Sign Post.
Within his own make-up man finds
such (practically) mechanical facts:
These facts of nature cannot be
altered by themselves. But they
(like other, external forces — external
to personality) may be and must be
brought under the governance of
knowledge in order to effect spiritual
Man's progress in the Mechanic
Arts has attained (relative) liberty of
action with respect to the seemingly
more external facts of nature.
Thus it is a sign post of experience
pointing the way.
Just as the Mechanic Inventor
chooses his goal and uses not alone
his constructive imagination but also
his Knowledge of the available ma-
terials and of Nature's Laws; and thus
(and not otherwise) attains success:
so, the solution of our "Social Prob-
lem" — spiritual and social purposive
freedom — must and is to be gained
only by combining with like insight,
a like Knowledge (of the relevant
Natural Laws and facts), and a like
courageous application of this Knowl-
edge in action.
An End in Itself.
Spiritual freedom in posse, lacking
use, is only a burden — a crushing re-
It must be in esse, ready for action
— put into action.
But in doing (in accord with his
spiritual freedom) man stakes his
whole self. That is why I call work
of a man's own heart an end in itself
— not a means to an end.
It is such kind of doing in which
the World-Force finds its complete
"Do or die" is really the human
quintessence of life.
Do or die is self-expression raised to
the nth degree. It is self-expression
spiritually transfigured: he only can
have true life who is ready to stake
his life (and lose it) on his cause.
Harness the Animal.
The main task of man individually,
and a crux of our collective task — our
"Social Problem" — is to harness the
animal in man.
The task, rightly conceived, is not
to kill, or maim, or nullify the animal
instincts in man, nor yet to "punish"
(by social obloquy, imprisonment, or
the electric chair, the non-social or
anti-social expressions of these in-
stincts), but to harness and utilize
these brute forces for man's higher
The animal instincts must be "hu-
The economic instincts must be so-
England's settlement of the Aus-
tralian penal colonies and their pres-
ent-day outcome are conclusive evi-
dence that "criminal" ancestry is not
"had" ancestry. It also indicates that
the humanization of the animal in-
stincts is not an impossible task.
And the socialization of the eco-
nomic instincts should be simple by
For the correct functioning of any
machine or, indeed, any organism
composed of many parts, co-ordina-
tion is indispensable.
Co-ordination is equally indispen-
sable in the social unit, the individual,
and in the social whole, the nation.
A mentally unbalanced (unco-ordi-
nated) man — because he acts irration-
ally and is a menace — we call insane;
and we take measures accordingly — to
the best of our intelligence.
Our economically unbalanced (un-
coordinated) society, producing and
accumulating fabulous wealth in peace
times which irrationally saddles on its
masses a still greater debt, and mort-
gaging its (more than) total wealth
to a few citizens forever we do not
call insane; nor (though we perceive
the menace) do we take measures ac-
cordingly — to the best of our intelli-
Our economically unbalanced (un-
co-ordinated) society which, while en-
gaged in destroying fabulous wealth
by war (for national self-preserva-
tion), irrationally produces million-
aire individuals by the thousand, we
do not call insane; nor (though we
perceive the menace) do we take
measures accordingly — to the best of
A mentally unco-ordinated man is
foredoomed to failure, is always in
trouble, and is a menace to himself,
An economically unco-ordinated so-
ciety is foredoomed to failure, is al-
ways in trouble, and is a menace to
itself, and others.
Owners of Tin Lizzies.
Every man who possesses a Tin Liz-
zie, or a high-priced Nickel-plated
Elizabeth, knows what lack of me-
chanical co-ordination means: co-or-
dination between spark and compres-
sion, co-ordination between intake and
exhaust valves, co-ordination between
air and "gas" — and he becomes pro-
foundly interested when any of these
co-ordinates get gley. . . .
If all our citizen owners of Tin
Lizzies were a hundredth part as in-
telligently interested in the thous-
andfold more important social disco-
ordinations as they are in those of Tin
Lizzie's in'ards, we should soon have
a social machine as effective, as de-
pendable, as smooth-running as the
most perfect product of the mechanic
Man's Free Spirit.
You will recall that there is inter-
action .reciprocity, between man and
his environment. Environment may
help or hinder development, be friend-
ly or otherwise depending on how we
act toward it. You will recall also that
environment is (in effect) modifiable
by our relation to it. There may be
modifications of response in situ, by
draining a malaria-breeding swamp; or
through change of position, as when a
Chicagoan removes to San Francisco
— or better still, Berkeley — to escape
pneumonia-breeding winters. Social
environment, as all will agree, is even
more largely modifiable.
In every case the effective modifier
is man's free spirit.
It was man's free spirit which led
the first founders of our republic to
the New World. And is it not a
striking coincidence that among the
prime motives of the Pilgrims and
other early colonists was specifically
the quest of spiritual freedom?
Nor is the significance diminished
by the incident that they sought spir-
itual freedom in a special and nar-
rower sense: religious freedom.
They found better than they sought.
A Vast Free Land
From the straight-jacket of little
England, from a narrow land beset
with moral and mental fences and still
more restrictive conventions, the Pil-
grims came into wide open spaces,
practically boundless in extent, came
into a vast free land.
In the evolution of the American
this environment — large, free, unre-
stricted — comes in for a great part of
the credit. Even in our own day there
is left in America "illimitable space,"
as compared with crowded Europe.
And this favorable environment pow-
erfully aided and aids in the develop-
ment of Americanism.
There was indeed at work a select-
ive process: emigration is likely to
appeal only to the more venturesome,
and those are likely to be the more
strenuous, the "fittest."
But even so, large credit goes to
It was what America had to offer
that attracted the bolder spirits, and
its obvious dangers daunted the more
And that the bolder had the imagi-
nation to be so attracted was due to
their possessing spiritual freedom in
esse, so that to become and be free
in fact was their master urge, theii
effective purpose, their spiritual ob-
Man and Environment.
This to us momentous example is
a beautiful and impressive illustration
of the interaction and reciprocal rela-
tion of man and environment, of the
"miracle" of spiritual freedom in a
mechanically conditioned universe.
But if the early settlers of America
(and many or even most of them that
followed across the ocean in the re-
volving years) were led by the spirit
of freedom and came into a free land,
they did not come free from dangerous
personal belongings, "goods" and
gods, and bugaboos — they had much
better left behind in musty old Eu-
They brought with them a host of
lYrmvald, Berkeley, California.
.May 16, 1921.
barbarous old social conventions and
customs; and these, replanted in the
virgin American soil, throve lustily,
defacing and ravaging' the lovely free;
land with ruthless greed, and pollut-
ing its free air with the noisome odors,
of chattel and financial slavery.
And if our great and fair land may
still claim some greatness and some
fairness, it is due only to the fact that
America was too much for them.
In short, the American failed to re-
fashion his social environment in ac-
cordance with his changed physical
Yet we of the United States have
a better chance of retrieving past
errors — the refashioning ("reconstruc-
tion") of our social structure — than
have other peoples.
We are relatively free from the re-
straints of class, of caste, of tradition-
alism, the dead weight of which is
the finished product of Old World
heritage. Then, too, the American
has more "initiative," the result of
pioneering conditions and the "con-
quest" of a continent.
The American has impressed him-
self on his environment and recip-
rocally he has received its American
Due to the reciprocal interaction of
the man and the environment there
has resulted a greater fluidity of the
social setting, and to the man more
resourcefulness, hence more effective
Thinks and — Does.
Man, then, conditioned by the me-
chanical laws of the universe and his
own animal instincts, has freedom in
choosing his 'relation and action to-
ward these seeming limitations; and
out of what he thinks expressed in
what he does emerges his effective free
spirit; emerges Cunning Strong, Skil-
ful Strong, Tricksy Cunning, Simple
Strong; emerges Newton, Shakes-
peare, Socrates, Christ; emerges the
Man — wondrou> Human Personality.
Old Irascible Strong and Trixie Cunning
Their Sons and Modern Society
By William Henry Smyth
NOTE: Part II takes up the instinctive side of man — his conditioned
self, inherited from his animal ancestors, that any rational social structure
must rest on. But the social environment is modifiable by man's will, so,
given the will, the "socialization" of the instincts, in a manner appropriate
to man's aspirations, may be accomplished by a suitable reconstruction
of the social institutions.
Irascible and Trixie.
In the forest primeval, Irascible
Strong, our semi-human first parent,
promiscuously thrashed and smashed
with his ragged tree-branch-club, joy-
ously cracking skulls in his gory pur-
suit of grub and — life interest; and
Trixie, his less powerful and less fe-
rocious, but more cunning mate (in
her pursuit of life interest and —
grub), jolted his sluggard wits by
her audaciously flirtatious actions;
swiped some of his procurements;
and in many other feminine ways
acted most reprehensibly.
So it is today — merely modernized.
Alan must eat to live, must breed,
must protect himself and his off-
spring against the vicissitudes of life
and the inclemency of the weather,
today — just as in the old days half a
million years ago. And in all the
the ages since, neither the circum-
stances of life nor the primal ne-
cessities have changed in their fun-
Right of Might.
The fierce and fearsome sons of
Irascible and Trixie — Cunning Strong,
Skilful Strong, Simple Strong, and
Tricksy Cunning — procured their grub
and life interest, each in his own un-
tutored way and in accord with his
inherited make-up — Simple Strong by
labor; Skilful Strong by skill; Tricksy
Cunning by stealth; and Cunning
Strong by favor of the gods and —
right of might.
Everywhere and Always.
It has always been so in the past —
East, West, North, South, in China,
in India, in Assyria, Egypt, Greece,
Rome — strength, skill, cunning, con-
tending and contributing, each after
its kind, to make for human supre-
So it is today — merely modernized.
It is only the same old nobly simple
poem of human existence done into
modern prose in the varied life his-
tories and (fictitiously) complicated
social activities of the most up-to-
date descendants of that primordial
semi-human Cunning - Skilful - Strong
family . . .
"Divine Providence" and — Guns.
Simple Strong — the Masses — labors
simply, and propagates proliferously;
Skilful Strong — the Arfisan — gets his
livelihood and his joy of life by the
exercise of his constructive skill;
Tricksy Cunning — the Capitalist —
gets his keenest delight (and other
more concrete evidences of success)
by the exercise and gratification of
his stealthy cunning; and Cunning
Strong — the Ruling Classes — they get
their glory, grub and fun out of boss-
ing the world, by favor of "Divine
Providence" and — right of military
Man — The Measure of Society.
In Cave-man time the world (as he
saw it) and cave-man society corre-
sponded to cave-man character.
So it is today — merely modernized.
If man is not unqualifiedly the mea-
sure of the universe, he surely is the
measure of society. No society, no
social complex, can have an excellence
superior to that of the individuals who
compose it — the widely accepted no-
tion of "the' State" to the contrary
notwithstanding. Nor can there be
real virtue or lasting vitality in any
society except when and in so far as
it gives the amplest scope ("freedom
of opportunity") to its individuals.
To the society-builder — the social
mechanic — the matter of foremost
concern must therefore be man; man
in his simple essentials — his intrinsic
nature, his fundamental needs, his un-
quenchable aspirations. Only as
these are understood and properly
taken account of, can the work of so-
cial reconstruction prosper.
Men's minds are free.
M<n's thoughts in physical realiza-
tion — action — (and hence the success
of their life activities) are conditioned
by "Nature." The most economically
potent of these conditioning factors
are their instincts.
.Men's instincts have been devel-
oped in the process of evolution, by in-
heritance from man's animal ances-
tors. Human instincts being nature's
own handiwork — evolutionary pro-
ducts — are part and parcel of nature;
facts at which we may scold (if we
must spend time foolishly), but to
which we must bow. And it is the
part of intelligence to make of ad-
vantage what we must submit to of
To grouch at our sixty-odd inches
and to wish men ten feet tall, and not
to use our two while wishing for three
arms, would be no idler than not to
accept and take advantage of man's
We are as we are; it's the part of
common sense to make the best of it.
In the human evolutionary elabora-
tion of the animal instincts, as we have
seen, three strands developed in such
manner as to make them of primary
economic importance. Their arche-
types are Skilful-Strong, Cunning-
Strong, and Tricksy-Cunning; the
embodiments of the instinct to make,
the instinct to control, the instinct to
AH three stand out sharply by con-
trast with the economically undiffer-
entiated (but supremely important)
mass, whose instinctive urge I have
characterized as simply the desire to
live — Simple-Strong.
From this threefold differentiation
of human acting-trails — one might
call them economic instincts — comes
a corresponding three-fold articula-
tion of the industrial community into
Production, Distribution, and Direc-
Order vs. Chaos.
An orderly purposeful division be-
tween them (as against their planless
and confused intermingling in our ob-
jectless social conglomeration — our al-
leged social organization) is impera-
tively needed. The need of clean-cut
and purposeful division rises from the
very nature of the industrial process,
and without it efficient functioning is
If anything is unquestionable in
matters sociological, it is that we can-
not deal with society unless we can
deal with men; that we cannot under-
stand society unless we understand
But, as in the machine-shop (deal-
ing with inanimate material), we need
aim at no more than an effective un-
derstanding, that is, one effective for
the pertinent purposes — a working un-
A Working Knowledge.
A working understanding does not
imply that there is needed a "com-
plete" and "perfect" or even "scienti-
fic" or "philosophic" understanding of
the whole man. Such is no more
needed than is a similar understand-
ing required of electricity as prelimi-
nary to its effective utilization.
For that matter, of what have we
knowledge— complete and perfect?
Such knowledge has never been at-
tained and apparently is unattainable.
If there is any one who understands
"electricity," or "energy," or "matter,"
or "motion," or "space," or time," he
should enlighten the physicists, me-
chanics, arid electro-technicians, all of
whom aver thai they understand none
of these marvels. Yet they use them
in a multitude of ingenious ways and
with almost awe-inspiring effect.
So, in sociological matters, all we
need is a like working knowledge of
how man acts.
Such knowledge is neither mysteri-
ous nor occult, nor is it the private
property of privileged specialists, nor
the oeculiar province of profoundly
learned pundits, but is open and ob-
vious to all who will use their eyes
and common sense.
For this paradoxical compound of
instinctive-animal and free-spirit —
Man — is, socially, a Doer. Not only
primarily, but exclusively.
Whatever does not run into act, so-
cially and sociologically may be disre-
garded. What a man thinks, if it go
not beyond thinking, is socially indif-
Acts and Thoughts.
What Man does is what matters.
A man's thoughts are his own; only
his acts concern or affect his fellows —
Man's activities are his reactions to
environment. A specific act will be
the resultant of two sets of forces:
one rising from within, the other from
without — one from the individual, the
other from his environment.
The society in which a man lives
and acts is every bit as much part of
his environment as climate, topog-
raphy, and so on. Whatever power
man has gained to affect his non-so-
cial ("natural") environment (by vir-
tue chiefly of the labors of the scien-
tist, the inventor, the mechanic), is
far inferior to his power to effect
changes in his laws and customs — -his
Obviously, of those activities that
are socially significant, the social en-
vironment is more important than the
non-social. Nature has made man and
provided his natural environment, but
man makes his own social restrictions
and conventions. And there lies the
more hope in recognition of man's
ability to modify his social arrange-
ments — man-made environment — when
it is recognized that he cannot (on
the points here pertinent) change
1 have said that an act i> a com-
pound of environmental and individ-
The individual i- essentially un-
changeable — human society has always
been composed of Cunning-Strongs,
Skilful-Strongs, Simple-Strongs, and
Social environment has changed
kaleidoscopically, and can be changed
at society's will or whim.
Must Fit Human Nature.
The remedy for conditions deemed
undesirable lies not in attempting to
transform, regenerate, or reform the
individual or groups of individuals to
suit reformers' notions, but in modi-
fying social environment to suit na-
ture's laws and conform to human
This seems to me to be axiomatic.
As long as society and social con-
ventions are so organized that
Tricksy Cunning can gratify the
cravings of his nature only by batten-
ing on his fellow-citizens, he will bat-
ten despite all pious protests and "up-
lift" preachments, and will evolve
plenty of pious justification for his
battening to boot. Yes, he will sanc-
timoniously call High Heaven to wit-
ness that he (like the battening Coal
Baron who said it) is one of those
"Good and great Christian men to
whom God in his infinite wisdom has
confided the property interests of the
country"; and "a wise God" (as an-
other Baron Battener put it) "gives
wealth to those best able to admin-
Tricksy Cunning is not to blame
for gratifying his acquisitive propen-
sity, in the only way we leave open
to its gratification; but we prove our-
selves incompetent or careless social
designers in not arranging an avenue
— "freedom of opportunity" — for this
instinctive force to function in a di-
rection beneficial to society.
The Bed Rock.
Since activities are reactions to sur-
rounding conditions, and since these
reactions are conditioned by specific
make-up of individuals, is it not ob-
vious that this individual nature is
the bed-rock upon which we must
build the social structure?
The controlling factors are spirit-
ual freedom, on one hand, and in-
stinctive urges on the other.
These seemingly opposing factors
must be reconciled. They require
adjustment toward each other, as the
whole man must be adjusted to the
whole environment — as the necessity
of a prosperous existence.
The instinctive complex is a pro-
duct of evolution, and therefore prob-
ably modifiable only by evolutionary
process. Practically it is a fixed
datum, a persistent motor force.
Instincts are essentially appetitive.
The}" are life energy, stresses, vital
forces that ever strive to become kin-
etic, to explode in action — in doing.
They exert an imperative inward
urge, an urge seeking expression,
seeking gratification. When this is
denied, they set up inward strain and
distress, which strain and distress.,
when experienced by sufficient num-
bers, is expressed outwardly in "so-
Man's spiritual freedom is his cos-
mic birthright, which he must vindi-
cate by action before he can have the
fuli enjoyment of it, Here, as every-
where in our world, we have exem-
plified the order of spiritual freedom
reconciled with inflexible physical
To be really free, man's dominant
instinctive urge must be satisfied.
Contentment is merely the psychic in-
dex of a good adjustment. And
good adjustment hangs on self-ex-
pression: scope to the dominant eco-
nomic instinct. Else contentment is
False Doctrine of Pleasure.
This indicates what seems to me
the error in the seductive doctrine of
pleasure, that theory of hedonism
which interprets man's aspiration and
action as a striving for "happiness."
Nor is the case altered if some
other term descriptive of a state of
mind be substituted for happiness.
It is, at best, putting a secondary ef-
fect in the place of a primary fact,
referring the effect of the electric
discharge to the ineffective rumble
of the thunder.
Rapture of Creation.
When man strives it is, after all, in
obedience to an inner urge; and it is
irrelevant whether that urge be con-
sciously understood or not. And
what is socially pertinent: this urge
is not generalized and vague, directed
at some psychic state, but specific
and precise. It is an urge to do a
desirable something, to accomplish
an attractive purpose. It is an urge
promising pleasurable satisfaction, in-
deed, but it is the joy of "something
accomplished, something done." Truly
a spiritual satisfaction, a human real-
ization of the cosmic rapture of Cre-
ation- — self-expression.
The Primal Curse.
Closely connected with this is my
inability to share the (alas, still craz-
ily popular) view of work as "the
primal curse" — I would almost say
my inability fully to understand how
that poisonous view could ever have
gained acceptance. That it has gain-
ed acceptance is in itself perhaps the
most impressive testimony to how
miserably we have failed in our so-
cial contrivances. For such utterly
inhuman misconception of the true
nature of work can have arisen only
from the abuse of work, from mis-
work — from forced work, work not
self-initiated, work not expressive of
the worker, work which indeed vio-
lates the worker's characterizing in-
Person vs. Product.
The foregoing offers another point
of support for the acceptance of the
fundamental notion which I have at-
tempted to recommend to you, that:
The individual is far more impor-
tant, even economically, than his
The chief benefit of the individual
doing anything which is at all in the
line of self-expression lies, not in the
outcome, but in the doing.
Is not this really self-evident?
An activity performed in response
to an inward urge brings that con-
dition of liberation to which all or-
ganic needs tend and in which, for
the time being, they find their end.
This liberation it is that makes itself
known as primary satisfaction, and
gives rise to the feeling of pleasure.
The performance of work after a
man's own heart is an end in itself,
not merely a means to an end. What
lies beyond, what "product" or pe-
cuniary gain results from the effort,
is a secondary matter. *
It is the failure to realize this vital
truth that makes modern so-called
"efficiency" humanly inefficient, and
a dangerous fallacy.
This disposes of the unfounded, or
quite wrongly founded, notion that
without the social "incentives" — pe-
cuniary "profit" — now in force, work-
ing performance would be gravely
impaired. That lacking "profit," men
would quit work, to vacuously twid-
dle their fingers and thumbs. Ages
of human experience are all to the
contrary. "The devil finds some mis-
chief still for idle hands to do," is a
bit of simple folk-wisdom expressing
the fact that inactivity is a human
Con-struction or De-struction.
Close the avenues to con-struction
and men will turn to de-struction.
The urge stress must find relief, it
will find relief either in service or in
dis-scrvice — in work or in war.
Where "incentive" is not merely a
euphemism for "necessity," its modi-
fication will not extinguish the ac-
tivity which it is supposed to incite.
It is quite idle to suppose that the
abolition of social institutions facili-
tating, say, private profiteering, to-
gether with the incentives thereto,
would make a man of distinguished
organizing ability turn to bookkeep-
ing or typing or nursing a rag-doll,
in disgust and despair. It is much
more reasonable to expect that he
will strive just as lustily to "organ-
ize" for national benefit, as he does
now for private profit. And where
the incentive is simply necessity (as
it is for the great majority), is it
rational to suppose that a willing
worker (willing because he has the
work he wants) will work less, or
less efficiently, than an unwilling
In planning an outcome, or de-
signing a machine, only a crazy or a
crassly ignorant man would attempt
to change the essential character of
his materials, or to modify the laws
of matter and motion.
But this seemingly has been and
still is the course pursued in our so-
cial endeavors, as evidenced in some
of our prohibitive measures, our "blue
law" foolishness, many of our puni-
tive and repressive statutes, and our
glorified "Modern Art of Efficiency."
Facts of Nature.
The scientist and the mechanic
know that the laws of nature are
invariable and the qualities of mate-
rials are fixed. However convenient,
at any stage, it might be either to
be able to subvert nature or endow
his materials with qualities they do
not naturally possess, the mechanic
knows he has no such magic power.
Instead, he must arrange, order, and
often modify his plans in accord with
the facts of nature.
As Man Is.
So it is and must be with the so-
cial constructor or reconstructor (and
this is usually overlooked by "social
reformers"): he too must take his
human material — with its animal in-
stincts, its brute-man heritage, its
economic traits — just as it is.
Men are as they are: some are
selfish, brutal, cruel, thoughtless, ir-
rational; some are benevolent, kindly,
loving, thoughtful, rational; some
men are more or less all these quali-
ties; some men want to make, some
merit want to take, some men want
to boss; and many men have no par-
ticular hankering to make, or to take,
or to boss, but merely want to
rationally live their own unhampered
lives — to live simply, to work sanely,
and center their interest in their
/ Build Society to Suit.
It is therefore an essential part of
the "Social Problem" so to arrange
society that all the human instincts,
. traits, and qualities have due
consideration and free scope to serve
useful ends and perform their appro-
priate functions in the economic or-
ganization — the Nation.
In short, we must take men as we
find them and build our social struc-
ture to suit them as they are, and
build in unison with Nature's "Law
and Order," as this is disclosed in
our experience. And, in addition, we
must build in accordance with our
highest ideals of social worth and to
rve our loftiest national pur-
A Social Object-Lesson.
As the mechanic inventor strives
to organize mechanisms to realize his
highest ideals of mechanistic effi-
ciency, • so must we as social con-
structors strive to organize the social
structure to realize our highest ideals
of human worth.
should not expect (nor be dis-
couraged if we fail) to build a "per-
fect" social machine; and we. should
expect to build and rebuild, modify-
ing and improving as our growth in
knowledge and our ever-increasing
social intelligence enlarges, and puri-
fies our National Ideals.
Constructing tentatively is not ex-
and peculiar to the Social
Quiti the contrary.
[f we lake experience for guide, the
erse it self is d
hed perfect work of a now
resting Power-, but as a growing, de-
ever expanding process of
Creatn e Self-expression.
l-'.vi rything suggests thai motion is
lamental than re t- -that rest
(non-motion) is somewise an illusion
of thi I ; or at most a state of
partial and temporary equilibrium:
that the Universe is not static but
creative, dynamic, progressive.
And so must we be creative, dy-
namic, progressive — or perish.
Every human endeavor, the accom-
plishment of every purpose — the reali-
zation of an ideal — is a series of com-
promises growing out of the require-
ments of the idea and the char,
istics of the available materials,
through which it is physically ex-
' ■ if such com-
promises satisfactorily, one general
idea or principle disclosed in the me-
c's experience, and which has at
been very helpful to him, here
3 to possi icance
to the social mechanic:
Motion is just a.- ive to re-
duction of pre o ad-
dition of pressure behind.
Carrot vs. Club.
As in the machine shop, so also in
social construction, the first expedient
has the advantage of avoiding the
compression of, and consequent gen-
eration of heat in, t!i acted
How obviously true is this fact, but
how universally neglected in our deal-
ings with hui es!
Hope is more stimulating than
Hope incites, fear benumb-. The car-
rot in front of the donkey is as ener-
gizing as the club behind — and costs
Vet, how general our social recourse
to fear, how frequent our employment
of the club.
Brutish Irascible's witless method —
So long as "crime" is the direction
I re- i -1. nice, there will be "crim-
inals." Or, put in terms of our com-
mercial age, as long as social "bad"
pays, social "good" cannot thrive.
Under present money and owner-
ship conventions, legal possession is
accepted as equivalent to production
of the things "owned." Hence desire
to possess must increase at the cx-
pense of desire to produce — taking is
easier than making. Thus the para-
sitic effort to take rather than the
productice effort to make has natural-
ly become to many the direction of
least r< sistance. And to
nothing is the highest ex-
ion of this motor idea
Messrs. Maker, Swiper. Stealer, and
The huckster who si
corn to make his brooms clearly is
better circumstanced than
petitor who buys his broom-con
slow-going Mr. Swiper, who
takes material, cannot with,
luxuriantly as his still
rival who stealthily ace; 1
all ready-made and m; i And
m — M r. Maker,
Swiper, nor Mr. St
chance with Mr.
gcr, who "combines" and high-finances
all — the "profits."
m — prohibition
It is sheer waste of . enei
It is crass foolishness to ti
people "pure" and "good" by statute,
nperate and moral by lav
It is the substitution of sub
— slavery — for self-control.
ming success in this dire
means real failure, rein on, not
— pr< igress.
nld prohibition law- result in
complete "success," destroying the
beverage use of alcohol and, with it,
the acquired physical and spiritual re-
sistance thereto: the second or third
n will lack this painfully ac-
quired spiritual strength and pro
perience, and the result of the
''rediscovery" of beverage alcohol up-
on that generation will be similar or
worse than alcohol's effect upon simi-
larly unprotected aborigines.
But . .!
We can, by legal and other conven-
tions, make morality, temperance,
goodness, desirable; i. e., the ((social)
direction of least resistance, for self-
initiated effort — encourage "virtue" in-
stead of punishing "vice" — the succu-
lent and energizing carrot instead of
the skull-cracking club.
Brute-instinct yells — Kill! — Crucify!
i in v. hi pers — Utilize.
Social Good and Social Bad.
Human action expresses itself in
the direction of least resistance, in
much the same way as "natural" en-
Results will be desirable or
wise, depending upon the intelli-
, or lack of it, in selecting the
mis of human energy suited or
mi suited to the object sought to be
When custom and convention make
of social good greater than
the rewards of social bad, the social
criminal will become the social saint
— malefactors of great private wealth
become benefactors of great public
worth. So long as convention puts
: uium on taking and social pun-
ishment on making — the makers will
grow thin, the takers wax fat.
Under these conditions, however,
our alleged industrial democracy so-
cial machine is headed for old man
Revolution's repair shop, or — the
Discussion as to the "goodness" or
"badness" of a system or method
apart from the purpose to be accom-
plished (as, for example, Capitalism
vs. Socialism) is futile, leading only
Is individualism good? — collectivism
bad? Is egoism bad? — altruism good?
As well ask similar questions regard-
ing one - many, going - coming, rigid-
ity-flexibility, heat - cold; and all the
thousand-and-one other reciprocal
qualities and characteristics. All such
terms merely indicate relation, not
self-sufficing entities. They desig-
nate complementaries, no one of
which could exist or be conceived in
the absence of the other. Besides
this, "good" and "bad" are also mean-
ingless in this connection, as they
connote ethical relations in the men-
tal realm of thoughts and ideas, not
space and time measurements in the
physical world of acts and things —
To talk about "profiteering" as
"good" or "bad" is merely to talk
nonsense. It is an efficient method
of enriching the few at the expense
of the many. Thus — as a means to
effect the purpose of Air. Profiteer —
it is open to no reasonable criticism.
Social "goodness" is accomplish-
ment of socially desired ends. "Bad-
ness" is failure in that regard. This
criterion applies equally in social
mechanics as it does in the machine
"Sin" alike in both of these de-
partments of human effort is neglect
to use the befitting means or mate-
rials. When a mechanic for selfish
gain, from misdirected economy, or
from ignorance employs a power-
shaft too light for its "load, there is
no doubt as to where blame should
How about a businessman or bank-
er who, for the same reasons, places
a heavy load of responsibility on hu-
man shoulders too light for the bur-
den — who entrusts millions to youth-
ful and underpaid clerks?
Objective of the Nation.
Thus, in the social organization,
the human parts must be arranged,
not alone with regard to the imme-
diate requirements of their work, or
the "efficient" output of products (as
is present "efficiency" practice), but
primarily with reference to the hu-
man needs and the natural character-
istic of the worker, the democratic
ideal of the people, and the ultimate
purpose — Objective of the Nation.
Built That Way.
The point here to be reinforced
is how vitally important are these
natural characteristics of the human
units of the social structure, and how
profoundly society is affected by their
Introspection will confirm what I
have argued on the ground of the
evolutionary history of man.
Let any one look within himself
and examine the quality of his pref-
erences, their motivation, and the
line of action into which they run:
he will most likely find something in
the nature of a categorical imperative
— a must. Why do 1 dislike this,
why do T like that? The answer
would probably be:
Because — I am built that way.
"Right" and "Wrong".
But note, this inward compulsion
is felt to be, and is, something very
different from coercion exercised
from without, whether the compul-
sive force expresses nature's activity
or the arbitrary will of others.
The inward compulsion is not felt
as a mere "must". The compulsive
quality may, indeed, not be felt at
all; it may remain unperceived until
disclosed by inward search.
What is always felt, hoAvever, is
that it — is "right".
Coercion, on the contrary, is al-
ways felt to be "wrong".
This inward compulsion, then, car-
ries with it a sense of sanction. And
it has this sanction because it is in-
itiative — it is the expression of an
That is, it is self-expression.
If one' could venture to use the
term "right" otherwise than rela-
tively, as an "absolute", one might
be tempted ' to say: self-expression
The Japanese Question.
How individual instinctive bents af-
fect social action may most readily
be perceived in cases where the same
instinctive reaction governs great
numbers of men. Take, for example,
the Japanese question which of late
has assumed such seriousness for the
people of the United States and par-
ticularly for us Californians.
In the mass of arguments advanced
for and against Japan, one stands out
like one of our granite buttes:
"Race antipathy," say the pro-
Quite true, answer we; it is race
But what does that mean?
Essentially it signifies simply a race
preservation instinct: an instinctive
objection by men of the white race
for hybridization with an alien race.
They want to remain white.
Let it be admitted that this desire
may be injudicious.
Let it be granted that, under a yet
undiscovered canon of super-aesthet-
ics, our complexions would be im-
proved by being jaundiced, tbat blue
eyes would be bluer gazing from
oblique lids, tbat a shrinkage of our
Stature would bring us closer to
Let it be granted that the eugenics-
to-be would demonstrate a great
mental improvement of the American
people resulting from their ceasing
to be Caucasic and becoming yellow-
All of that would avail nothing —
The policy laid down for our deal-
ing with Japan is ultimately dictated
by — instinct; or, more accurately ex-
pressed, by the frank and wise recog-
nition of an instinct.
"We just don't want to."
Vox populi, vox dei.
Fits and Mis-fits.
Economic institutions and conven-
tions (laws and customs) being man-
made, may be rational or otherwise,
may be self-initiated or imposed, may
be native or adopted, may fit or mis-
fit the natural characteristics of the
individuals composing a social aggre-
gation, may rest on autocratic or
democratic notions, and may express
debasing or ennobling ideals.
But every idea or ideal, whether its
rays point up or down, has its in-
itiating flame in an individual creative
And, it is ideals — realized — that
make the social world move; valid
ideals for progress, false ideals for
retrogression or profitless milling
around in a vicious circle.
So it is almost a truism to say
All social and economic ideals are
futile and dangerous that violate na-
ture or invade the sanctuary and
sanctity of the individual.
Man Is a Compound.
Before closing, and at the risk of
repetition, I want to hammer home
this and one or two other ideas
which seem to me to be of controlling
The individual man is a compound
of creative spirit and nature-evolved
The first is elemental — free.
The second is a product — governed
by physical laws.
All human beings are alike in free-
dom of spirit — to the extent that they
realize their freedom. But they dif-
fer without limit in their individuality,
that is, in their proportional admix-
tures of inherited instinctive traits,
urge-force, and general make-up.
Hence nations differ in their effec-
tive capability to realize their social
ideals — to utilize their nature-provided
opportunity for national self-realiza-
tion, through rationally appropriate
The American Nation.
While the spirit of man is free to
choose well or ill, it is economic in-
stincts which determine economic
possibilities. And society is no more
than the aggregate of the individuals
that compose it. The American Na-
tion is nothing more or less than a
hundred-and-odd million (potentially
free but self-bound) American Sim-
ple-Strongs, Skilful-Strongs, Cunning-
Strongs and Tricksy-Cunnings — and
our national character is the sum
total of our inherent and our in-
Our Unprecedented Responsibility.
We occupy a wonderful continent
and we have an unparalleled oppor-
tunity: thus we face an unprecedented
responsibility to prove our worthiness
of this great trust — to prove that our
spiritual worth is at least commen-
surate with our physical wealth.
Fernwald, Berkeley, California.
May 25, 1921.
Parasitism and Personality:
Conflicting Drifts in the Evolution of Society.
By William Henry Smyth
NOTE: Part III exhibits the twofold nature of man in its interaction
in our present "society," as yet unorganized for the mutual adjustment of ani-
mal instinct and social reason. It is shown how at present the evolutionary
urge to self-support is opposed by the evolutionary counterdrift, parasitism:
how this drift (facilitated by the belief in magic) supports the existing
system of finance, itself the quintessence of parasitism: how this must lead
ultimately to ruin, of parasite as well as host.
Old Order and New Order.
ty, two-fisted killer, with Trixie,
male: her reached the pinnacle
of ai ' lent, the limit, the
i — the climax,
resull there i ntered an
the climax into a I
not only a new direc-
tion, but a order of dev< lo]
The old order, still existing and
functioning in the animal world, was
ii ted to producing new animal
species, thus is characterized by limi-
The new order, of which Alan is the
m, is characterized, as
. by fr< edom.
Self-support vs. Parasitism.
For survival in the animal world
1 I : . ■ directions
ir1 have been available and have,
pectn I . I folli :d by ani-
ns as their direction of
The two directions
i oughly b( expi essed i :
the way of productive self-sup-
By the way of deductive parasitism.
These path-takers are broadly rep-
nted by prey and predator, ivy
..ii'! oak, by herbivora and carnivora,
("Bulls and Bears"?), by host and
i;e — big bugs have little bugs up-
on their backs to bite 'em, little bugs
survival to the human on-
looki ' and
tion. And it i: to be observed that
this "upward" and "downward"
oi survival effort passed over with our
animal nature into human de\
ment, and i - ntly into our -
expedient s and com entions.
The upward or self-supporl
j naturally expressed itself early,
in crude agriculture and rude indus-
. gradually being developed and
cJ into modern arts, crafts and
'i'he downward or parasitic tendency
naturally i ed in its crud-
esl (cannibalistic) form in the earlier
and more animal stages, gradually
(i.\ eloped and "refined" from its
raw crudness, in keeping with the
"higher" development of humanity, in-
to exploitation — slavery direct and in-
direct; into cunning thievery — legal-
ized and otherwise; into cunning
cheats in all their variety — unearned
"pi i ilit" chasers; into cunning we;
al> ;orbers — "hoarders," "profiteers,"
etc., and all kinds of wealth-wasters —
idle poor, idle rich, hobo and aristo-
The generalized present-day social
expression of the two trends 1 have
indicated by dividing society into
"Maker-," and "Takers."
As the "New Order" of develop:
itiiMit progressed (and pri
man has gradually acquired a distinct
and conscious preference for the "up-
ward" direction of developmenl
a repugnance From even the idea of
itism— we hate body lice, and
"varmints" of all kinds.
thinking — social
conventions — has not caught up with
his individual intelligence. We have
ed habits of bodily cleanlh
we are as y< ( far from a similar pref-
ial soap and cathartics
— externa] and internal social purity.
Hence par; mun-
ity do not produce the quick and spon-
>us loathing which parasites on or
in the person (bed-bugs, body-lice or
Witness: "One man's misfortune
r's opportunity" — a commer-
cial aphorism, which is a stupid social
fallacy, but a valid parasitic a-
also: "profiteer," "interest," "unearned
increment," "four hundred," etc.; all.
of which are merely "respectable"
euphemisms for social matters and
things that, couched in more direct
terms, would produce feelings similar
to those aroused by "louse," "tick,"
A Basic Proposition.
Man's advent, then (explain it how
you will) introduced on earth a being
differing in kind from all that preceded
him, a true "combination" of matter
and spirit, of animal and spiritual, of
mechanism and — personality.
In man was "combined" the preda-
tory animal with its restricting in-
stincts, and spirit with its unrestricted
If this proposition is not accepted
(as earlier I said about a similar one)
there can be no further discussion; in-
deed, there can be no "Social Prob-
lem" to discuss.
But this proposition once truly re-
alized, and its valid implications
rationally applied, the Gordian
knot of social difficulties calls for no
cutting, for it loosens up and be-
comes amenable to comparatively
easy rational manipulation.
As the complication of machinery
is resolvable into two simply use-
able (though incomprehensible) me-
chanical elements — the wedge and,
tin- lever— so the complication of
society and social activity is resolv-
able into, flows out of, and rests
upon two simply usable (though in-
comprehensible) human elements — in-
stinct and personality.
These arc the fundamentals of
Man. individually and collectively;
and society's function is to employ
one to liberate the other.
As in practical mechanics failure
to get a "working understanding"
of the simple mechanical elements —
the wedge and lever — brings mech-
anistic confusion, "perpetual motion"
foolishness, vast wastage of human
energy, wealth, and material; brings
difficulties (real and imaginary) ana
fills the Patent Office and junk-piles
with records of myriad mechanical
futilities: so with the workaday af-
fairs of society, failure to get a
"working understanding" of the sim-
ple human elements — instinct and
personality — brings like results, so-
cial confusion, credit-perpetual-motion
foolishness, \ast wastage of human
energy, wealth and material; brings
difficulties (real and imaginary), debt,
discontent, H C. L., the myriad futili-
ties of finance and the host of other
undesirable items which go to make
our mountainous social-scrap-pile and
our ominous "Social Problem''.
Tangibles and Intangibles.
As the lever, in its arc movement
raising a load, combines the physical
iron bar with intangible time, space,
and motion and makes available (liber-
ates) universal energy for human
use: so the physical animal combined
with intangible spirit liberates Uni-
versal Creativeness in its earthly ex-
pression — Human Personality.
To carry the analogy still further:
A ragged tree-branch is a rough-and-
ready lever of limited effectiveness,
while a steel-toed, scientifically-
shaped iron crow-bar is an enor-
mously powerful and highly efficient
instrumentality. So, in like manner,
the greater the perfection of the
human body, in skeleton, muscle,
brain ,and sense organs, the more
efficient an instrumentality it be-
comes for the creative liberation ot
the human spirit — self-expression.
Read Huxley's idea of a worth-
while man: .... "his body is
the ready servant of his will, and
does with care and pleasure all the
work that as a mechanism it is capa-
ble of; his intellect is a clear, cold
logic engine, with all its parts of
equal strength, and in smooth work-
ing order, ready like a steam engine
to be turned to any kind of work,
and spin the gossamers as well as
forge the anchors of the mind; his
mind is stored with knowledge of
the great and fundamental truths of
Nature and of the laws of her opera-
tions; he is no stunted ascetic, he is
full of life and fire, but his passions
are trained to come to heel by a
.vigorous will, the servant of a ten-
der conscience; he has learned to
love all beauty, whether of Nature
or of Art, to hate all vileness, and
to respect others as himself."
Lacking a word to express, gener-
ally, the total interacting mass of men,
women, and children constituting a
political aggregation, that is to say,
the entire communal complex in its
material aspect, including its mainten-
ance (making and using in all their
multifariousness — food, clothing, hous-
ing, hygiene, reproduction, etc.), I
have throughout these essays em-
ploy ed the terms "society," and "social
functioning" as implying all the peo-
ple and their total community doings
which directly affect, or arc directly
aff( 'led by, the economic processes of
production, distribution and direction;
i. e. doers, doing, and dune — nation-
wide industry — -the entirety of social
ACTivity — physical society.
Purpose of Society.
A sane mind in a healthy body,
sums up in a few words an ideal of
human effectiveness, whether consid-
ered in the individual or in the col-
To make social conditions favor-
able to this ideal is clearly the main
(proximate) purpose of society. And
we have seen that personality is in-
itiative — creative — self-expression is or
its essence. So it follows that the
function of society is twofold, it has
a direct and an indirect purpose; the
direct is the care of the body, the
indirect is to foster freedom of
personality — "freedom of opportunity''
for untrammeled self-expression.
Direct and Indirect.
The indirect object (self-expres-
sion), though paramount, rests on
first attaining the direct object —
food, clothing, etc.; for man's spirit
resides in a physical body.
The direct object is thus seen to
be vital, for to fail in it is to fail
The direct object thus becomes the
— social object.
And as, in the family, intelligent
diousehold economics is vital not
alone to the physical but the moral
well-being of its members, so sane
national economics is of first impor-
tance to the like well-being of the
So the advisability of treating so-
ciety and our social problem as
"economic" is clear and its advan-
By confining our (social) attention
to matters which can be dissected,
analyzed, and synthetized; weighed,
measured, and catalogued, we are
dealing with things and acts which
can be physically dealt with ana
Though motives are spiritually
paramount, as society is a physical
organization, dealing with physical
things, physical acts, and physical
problems, we may disregard those
vague intangibles and confusing spir-
itualities, for they do not help us in
physical problems and only hinder
In the kitchen, or in the machine
shop, for example, it would only tend
to confusion and inefficiency to lug in
"God," religion, and spiritual concerns,
which there would be quite imperti-
nent. In the food-shop, machine-shop,
or work-shop, my "God," my religion,
my spiritual problems do not concern
my fellow-cooks or my fellow-mechan-
ics or my fellow-workers, no matter
how ingeniously imaginative the} - may
be or how spiritually expert.
So in society — the general work-
shop — my "God," my religion, my
spiritual problems do not concern
other workers, my fellow-citizens, no
matter how ingeniously imaginative
they may be or how spiritually ex-
As family life and family purposes
(though dependent upon) are exterior
to and apart from kitchen functioning,
so it is on a larger scale with society.
My spiritual concerns are my "per-
sonal" concerns, to interfere in which
no fellow citizen nor any other human
being has the faintest shadow of a
right — all the "Lord's anointed," all
the busy-body religionists, all the
"God-appointed" soul experts in the
world to the contrary notwithstand-
In the "separation of Church and
State" humanity for the first time ef-
fectively recognized the truth of this
transcendently important idea.
Food, clothing, housing, etc., mak-
ing and taking, are all physical mat-
ters to be dealt with by physical
means. To make more or less, to
take more or less, involve no moral
or ethical problems, only questions of
physical expediency — precisely as the
expedient size of a steam engine or
the expedient strength of structural
iron, the expedient proportions of
chemicals, or amounts of food.
If I take from a man his food, or
his clothing, or his housing: hunger
will gnaw, the blizzard will chill, the
storm will destroy, just the same,
whither I take for the "glory of God,"
or for the gratification of my "evil
passions," or in response to the urge
of my "instinct to take." The out-
come in each case is the effect of my
act, and I alone, (not "God." nor "pas-
sion," nor "instinct") should, very
properly, In- held responsible and ac-
countable to the association of my
fellows, which my act tends to disrupt
"Me" and My "God."
As to the motive behind the doing
or not doing, behind the making or
taking, behind the more or les^: that
is purely a personal matter between
"me" and my "God."
If I can justify my motive to "Him,"
so much the belter for me. To my
fellow-men I am responsible for, and
only responsible for, my acts and their
Our "working understanding" of
man would be ineffective, lacking con-
sideration of man's unsatiable curios-
ity- — an insistent urge which, from the
earliest and faintest dawn of self-con-
scious intelligence, man has striven to
In lowliest form curiosity is prob-
ably a fear reflex; more developed it
is desire for scientific "truth," and ul-
timately it expresses human craving
to know supreme "Go(o)d."
Following persistently and immedi-
ately on the heels of seeing and sens-
ing, that fire scorches, blizzards chill,
rocks crush, torrents whelm, and
man's life-course is beset with haps
and traps and myriad pitfalls, all seem-
ingly bent upon his destruction; come
the insistent questions: —
How! . . . How did it happen! . . . ?
Why!. . . Why did it happen!. . . ?
Old Fearsome Ferocity.
Seeing that he — himself — could im-
itate and initiate similar haps, traps
and pitfalls for others, primitive man
naturally assumed (with a high degree
of reasonable probability) "that the
natural haps were the outcomes of
fearsomely ferocious invisible beings
with purposes and passions like his
own — only more so; beings who, like
himself, had to be propitiated, into
friendly mood and kindly act.
So — naturally — arose "magic" and
magic causation at the hands of the
human friends and deputies of invis-
ible Old Fearsome Ferocity himself,
and — of his sisters and his cousins and
Magic vs. Science.
Down through all the ages, and
. .uid ages; down even unto the
present day, hour and minute — out-
side the laboratory of the Scientist
and the workshop of the Mechanic —
no oilier (than the "act of God" — mir-
aculous) explanation of unusual haps,
happen-chances or disasters, has ever
And, as I have shown in earlier es-
says of these Technocracy series, in-
stinctive animal greed (which is only
another way of expressing primordial
parasitism) and primitive "magic" are
still the controlling exploitation fac-
tors in "Modern Economics, Com-
merce and Finance."
Magic, Everywhere and Always.
Historically magic is known to have
existed everywhere and at all times.
Rut we of today are incredulous or
affronted when told that, in most de-
partments of life, our way of "think-
ing" is on a level with those who fee
augures and haruspices. Classical ex-
amples arc too well known to pile up
instances here. But magic heliefs and
practices among peoples (not much if
any below ourselves in regard to in-
trinsic intelligence) in our own day
are not so well known.
A Magic Parallel to "Finance."
. The following instance of present-day magic economics is peculiarly
pertinent because it significantly shows a successfully working parallel to
I quote from B. Malinowski's "The Primitive Economics of the Tro-
briant Islanders," Economic Journal (the official organ of the Royal
Economic Society), March, 1921.
The essential identity of the Trobriand economics and ours (in parallel
column) is strikingly illustrated by the very slight change in phraseology
needed to make one fit the other. Run your eye from column to column
and note for yourself.
Trobrianders and Manhattanese.
THE TROBRIAND ISLANDERS.
The garden magician (towosi) calls
himself the "master of the garden"
and is considered as such, in virtue
of his magical and other functions.
The Towosi, the hereditary magi-
cian of each village community, has to
a great extent control over the ini-
tiative . . .
The proceedings of gardening are
opened by a conference, summoned by
the chief and held in front of the
magician's house, at which all arrange-
ments and the allotment of the garden
plots are decided upon. Immediately
after that, the members of the village
community bring a gift of selected
food to the garden magician, who at
night sacrificially offers a portion of
il to the ancestral spirits, with an in-
vocation, and at the same time utters
a lengthy spell over some special
THE MANHATTAN ISLANDERS.
The financial magician (morgan-
feller) calls himself the "master of the
finances" ai d is considered as such, in
virtue of his complex magical and
other functions. . . .
The Morganfeller, the legalized
magician of each industrial commun-
ity, has to a great extent control over
the initiative . . .
The proceedings of a prospective
enterprise are opened by a conference,
summoned by the company president
and held in the magician's hanking
lw use, at which all arrangements and
allotment of stocks, bonds, and mort-
gages are decided upon. Immediately
after that, the members of the indus-
trial community bring deposits of
funds to the banker magician, who at
night sacrificially offers a portion of
it to the spirits of posterity, with an
invocation to "manufacture credit,"
[eaves. Next morning, the magician
repairs to the garden, accompanied
by the men of the village, each of
whom carries an axe with the charmed
leaves wrapped around its blade.
While the villagers stand around, the
Towosi (magician) strikes the ground
with a ceremonial staff, uttering a
formula. This he does on each garden
plot successively . . .
In a series of rites, lasting as a
rule for about three days, he inaugu-
rates the work of clearing the garden
plot . . .
The planting of • yams is inaugu-
rated by a very elaborate ceremony,
also extending over a few days, during
which no further garden work is done
at all. A magical rite of its own in-
augurates each further stage, the erec-
tion of supports for the yam vines; the
weeding of the gardens; cleaning the
yam roots and tubers; the premilinary
harvest; and finally the main harvest
When the plants begin to grow, a
series of magical rites, parallel with
the inaugural ones, is performed, in
which the magician is supposed to
give an impulse to the growth and de-
velopment of the plant at each of its
successive stages. Thus one rite is
performed to make the seed tuber
sprout; another drives up the sprout-
ing shoot; another lifts it out ot the
ground; yet another makes it twine
around the support; then with yet
other rites, the leaves are made to bud,
to open, to expand.
The natives believe deeply that
through this magic the Towosi con-
trols the forces of Nature, and they
also believe that he ought to control
the work of man. To start a new
stage of gardening without a magical
inauguration is for then, unthinkable.
Their implicit belief in magic also
supplies them with a leader, whose
initiative and command they are ready
to accept. . . .
The authority cf the chief, the be-
lief in magic, and the prestige of the
magician arc the social and psycho-
logical forces which regulate and or-
and at the same time utters a lengthy
spell over special leaves of account
books. Next morning the financier
repairs to the stock-market, accom-
panied by members, each one of whom
carries stock (leaves) wrapped up in
a wad. While the community stand
around, the Morganfeller (magician)
strikes the gong with a ceremonial
staff, uttering a formula. This he does
for each enterprise successively . . .
In a series of rites, lasting as a
rule for about three days, he inaugu-
rates the work of capitalizing the en-
terprise . . .
The incorporation is inaugurated by
a very elaborate ceremony, also ex-
tending over a few days, during which
no further real work is done at all.
A magical financial rite of its own
inaugurates each further stage, the
erection of machines for the plant;
the purchase of material; running of
the enterprise; the preliminary profit;
and finally the main harvest of
\\ hen the plants begin to grow, a
series of magical financial rites, par-
allel with the inaugural ones, is per-
formed, in which the financial magi-
cian is supposed to give an impulse
to the growth and development of the
plants at each successive stage. Thus
one rite is performed to make the in-
vestment sprout; another drives up
the price of the product; another lifts
it still higher; yet another makes the
stock reach par; then with yet other
rites to make the ttock bear big divi-
dends; to bear still bigger ones; to ex-
pand into subsidiary corporations.
The people believe deeply that
through his magic the Morganfeller
controls the foices of Nature, and
they also beiieve that he ought to con-
trol the work of man. To start a new
stage of any enterprise without a
money-magic inauguration is for them
Their implicit belief in money magic
also supplies them with a leader,
whose initiative and command they
are ready to accept. . .
The authority of the Law, the belief
in magic, and the prestige of the
money-magician are the social and
phychological forces which regulate
and organize production.
We would sec their economic activ-
ities in an entirely wrong perspective,
if we imagined thai these natives are
temperamentally lazy and can work
only under some outside pressure.
Tiny have a keen interest in their gar-
dens, work with spirit, and can do
sustained and efficient work, both
when they do it individually and com-
We would see their economic activi-
ties in an entirely wrong perspective,
if we were to imagine that Americans
are temperamentally lazy and can
work only under some outside pres-
sure. They have a keen interest in
their occupations, work with spirit,
and can do sustained work, both when
they do it individually and com-
Whatever may be said regarding
the differences in details of the Tro-
briand and Manhattanese "economics,"'
how can their essential identity be
( >n the one hand there is the
childish belief in the magic powers
of rites, spells, and invocations.
On the other, the equally childish
belief in the magic powers of inani-
mate money, intangible wealth, ana
One rests its unscientific faith
(credit) upon the dead workers of the
past, the other rests its equally un-
scientific faith (credit) upon the non-
existent workers of the future.
Both are equally unscientific in
their fatuous belief in effects
flowing from non-existent causes —
In both "economic systems" igno-
rant belief in magic, and ignorant be-
licl in the supposed power of
magicians over the forces and pro-
cesses of Nature, are the effective
means to enslave the worker masses
and control the product of their toil.
"Business Is Business."
That the morgan fellers of the Tro-
briand Islands do not work their
spells and invocations merely for
"the good of their health," nor en-
tirely for the spiritual uplift of their
fellows, is clear from Malinowski's
account, hut, like practical business-
men, they — get their rake-off.
That the Towosis of Manhattan
Island, et ah, do not work their
credit-and-money-magic merely for
considerations of physical or spiritual
hygiene — personal or collective — but,
that they (also like practical busi-
nessmen) "gel theirs" — seems to be
indubitable from the evidence of the
"Pujot Commission on the Money
Trust" of 1913, from which 1 quote:
"Morgan & Co. and their four chief
hanking dependencies held control
118 in 34 banks $ 2,679,000,000
105 in 32 transportation
63 in 24 manufacturing
30 in 10 insurance com-
25 in 12 public utilities.. 2,150,000,000
Yes! it would certainly seem that
our Manhattan Towosis get their —
Before 1914 — And After.
This, remember, was in 1913, be-
fore the late general fracas — before
the world went on its world-wide
costly and crazy debauch of "credit"
During those bloody nightmare
years (while the White World, in
vital struggle and tragic desperation,
was killing men by the million and
destroying real wealth by the bil-
lion) our Tricksy Cunning financial
Tow r osis were busy too — muttering
magic "credit" spells — uttering cco-
nomic-magic ( hundred-billion -dollar-),
paper promises — making parasitic
millionaires by the thousand! — ab-
sorbing (real) wealth by the billion!
Truly, it would appear that our
Towosis "got theirs all right, all
right"! — as vulgar Jack Robinson
would put it.
Commenting on "Looking Forward
as We Glance Backward" by Theo
dore H. Price (editor of "Commerce
and Finance") in the Outlook of
January 19, 1921, I had occasion to
"Statisticians give the number of
the White Race as about rive hun-
dred millions; or say one hundred
million families. Taking the credit
debts, national, public, and private,
at fifteen hundred billion dollars (a
very conservative estimate), there is
a pro-rata interest-bearing debt ot
$15,000 saddled upon every family,
which at 5% means an inescapable
interest charge of $750.00 a year, or
$2.00 a day."
Seventy-five billion dollars tribute
every year — forever!
That's the "gift" we bring our
Towosis for their magical "manufac-
ture of credit" (debts) to the tune of
$1,500,000,000,000, in a little over a
Yes, indeed, some "GIFT".
From the same article ("Glancing
Backward as We Look Forward,"
by the present writer), as pertinent
and suggestive of a connecting link
and kinship between the "Econom-
ics" of Trobriand and Manhattan, I
will further quote:
Repeating Past Blunders.
"While it is true that history, as
Mr. Price says, never repeats itself,
yet we may, if we will, learn from
the past to avoid repeating past
For example and as bearing on our
present point: Not so very long ago
the "Church" was extensively en-
gaged in selling "indulgences" — that
is, dealing in "future savings",
"treasures in heaven". In other
words, it was floating super-mun-
dane credit. The makers and pur-
veyors of these super-worldly credit
instruments derived great worldly
profit from the traffic, acquiring vast
physical possessions. The credulous
buyers of this dream-wealth, on the
other hand, seem not to have done
Super-mundane credit, in this
form, and popular willingness to "ab-
sorb" these credit issues, gradually
declined to zero point (as the mar-
ket "value" of Towosi magic spells
wotdd vanish in the white light of —
botanical and agricultural — Science);
only, however, towge substituted by
credit issues of equally mythical fu-
ture wealth, for which credulous ab-
sorbers arc still plentiful — "one born
every minute," so 't is said.
The trouble with dealing with all
forms of "future" wealth lies in the
fact that because the future is in-
finite in extent, its optimistically
supposititious wealth partakes of the
same infinite character; whereas
present — that is, matter-of-fact exist-
ing — wealth is necessarily always
To any mind courageous and naive
— that is, undistorted by pseudo-eco-
'nomic and pseudo-theologic casuis-
try — the difference between an of-
fering of "indulgences" and a new
company's prospectus (or the prom-
ise by a Towosi of a bumper crop
of Trobriand yams — ) is not nearly
so great as popularly assumed. And
closer inspection will then reveal a
startling, but withal illuminating,
identity in essential principle. In
either case a transfer of actual com-
modities is besought in exchange of
A Dangerous Fallacy.
Herein lies the essential fallacy of
the world-wide collective delusion —
our Great Credit Myth.
How could anything different from
or better than present conditions is-
sue from such a dangerous fallacy?
And how could anyone discerning
that fallacy (as I did, years ago, long
before the war) fail to anticipate
what has actually come about?"
We have now reached a position
in our investigation at which we may
snug up the accumulated material
into more compact form:
The Universe disclosses itself to
us as dynamic, creative; and Man's
spirit discloses itself as partaking
of the same essential character.
Man is a self-conscious, gregarious
animal in a mechanistic, animalistic,
and man-made environment, which
is friendly or otherwise depending
on how he acts toward it.
In this marvelous, manifold, and
varied setting made up of myriad
things and forces, wholly indifferent
and neutral to his wants and wishes,
Man is free to choose wisely or
otherwise and — take the conse-
He is even free to be unfree — if
he so chooses; for it is only by and
in the rational exercise of his free-
dom that he becomes free; spiritually
free by self-liberation from the
irrationalities of gross superstition —
magic; physically free by ac-
quiring and rationally using knowl-
edge of the truths of Nature and the
laws of her operations.
While his spirit is ever potentially
free, his physical freedom is condi-
tioned upon his rational attitude to-
wards the unvarying law and order of
the physical universe.
Though "personally" Man is spirit-
ually free, physically he is in a world
in which "there are others" (also spir-
itually free and physically con-
ditioned) like himself, towards
whom as towards other _ ele-
ments of his environment, he is free
to act rationally or otherwise, and —
take the consequences.
Human instincts are as much facts
in the order of Nature as any other,
and willy-nilly must be acquiesced in.
Like other elements of Man's en-
vironment (including "others"), in-
stincts are friends or enemies de-
pending upon how he acts towards
his own and towards the instincts of
Man's instincts are, so to say, the
environment of his spirit, so self-
expression must satisfy both the
"natural" urge of instincts and the
creative urge of his spirit.
Hence the "Social Problem."
This problem involves the social
task of harnessing the "animal" by
socializing the instincts through ra-
tional organization of society — the
social environment; and elimination
of ignorant belief in and reliance
In the animal world, under the
"old order," two main survival paths
were open — self-support and parasit-
These survival trends passed over
into "human" development, so into
our social expedients and conven-
Modern man has acquired a prefer-
ence for the "upward" trend and
hence a repugnance to the idea of
This "preference" has become — in
view of the overwhelming develop-
ment of parasitism (under "Capital-
ism") during the last half century —
probably the most important stress
factor in our modern "Social Prob-
The spirit of a man — with its "pref-
erence" for the "upward" path, its
aspirations after high ideals, its God-
like creativeness — resides in and is
dependent upon a body, with its
physical needs, its physical wants,
and it's physical requirements.
Taking all these matters into con«
sideration, it would appear that:
The main (proximate) purpose of
"Society" is to facilitate the econ-
omical production and the efficient
distribution of food, clothing, hous-
ing, etc., to each of its human units
without fictitious (privilege) distinc-
tion, and in such way as to effect
the greatest physical well-being of
its individual members.
But a social organization which
ends merely as an effective instru-
ment for individual well-being (re-
gardless of humanity's essentially
mutual aspect) is little if any ad-
vance on raw non-conscious gregari-
ous instinct, which also unifies the
herd (under the "old order") for
the well-being of its members.
Docs it not, therefore, seem ob-
vious that a rational social organiza-
tion — in order to be consistent with
Evolutionary Progress and with Hu-
man Nature — must unite the consci-
ous wills of its members in "up-
ward" ever expanding and consci-
ously perceived rational purposes?
Does it not seem obvious that the
only form of national organization
which is enduring and "humanly" de-
sirable is one in which self-conscious-
nesa and other-consciousness, individ-
uality and mutuality, are inter-ad-
justed and work harmoniously for
the spiritually worth-while purposes
of the Nation?
Fernwald, Berkeley, California,
May 31, 1921.
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The World's Great Crisis:
Emergence of Social Self-Consciousness
By William Henry Smyth
NOTE: Part IV outlines Social Reconstruction in the light of the evi-
dence and the conception of man previously set forth. The moving force and
the practical means are indicated for bringing about such changes as will
make of society a truly "human" institution, designed to aid the expression
of human personality; and by this enfranchisement and the unison of minds
in a national objective, raising the American people to unguessed heights of
Irascible Strong, irrepressible old
killer, has been relegated to the low-
ermost social stratum of yegg, thug
and gunfighter and — war.
Blundering old Irascible; but, he
gave us our reckless and unconquer-
able physical courage, and he saved
us from a lot of less desirable, still
more dunder - headed would - be an-
cestors who sought Trixie's frolic-
What do we not owe to Irascible's
uncertain temper, his strenuosity,
and his big stick! Oh! a bad, bold
swashbuckler was Irascible Strong,
our humorous first parent — a sigh
and rosemary for his strenuous social
virtues; for his jocund peccadils — the
statute of limitations.
And what a bunch of unmitigated
blundering boobs we would have
been, but for Trixie's frolicsome even
if stealth}^ cunning. Today, doubt-
less none of us would pick Trixie
in lieu of his own particular mother;
but as the mother of the race, we
could hardly have done better.
Would-be world conqueror, self-
centered Cunning Strong, has been
dumped into the limbo of the gov-
ernmental scrap-pile, with the pass-
ing of Autocracy and the develop-
ment of an effective Vox Populi.
But what would Democracy avail
or amount to, without its Cunning
Strongs! Where would we find
worth-while executives, or what could
be substituted in leadership, lacking
men of combined strength and cun-
Tricksy Cunning is now in the sad-
dle (or rather in the counting
house) and in legal possession of
the World's Wealth, hence has con-
ventional ownership of the World
and — all that it contains.
Clearly Tricksy is most earnestly
and conscientiously (even if uncon-
sciously) doing, in these latter days
and for her latest descendants, what
Trixie did in her own inimitable
fashion for (their other first parent)
her slow-witted mate.
Tricksy — truly, an all too efficient
eliminator of dunderheads — is jolting
our sluggard wits in many effective
ways, and particularly those of our
modern Simple Strongs — by killing
them off in "economic" wars, and in
peace "economically" starving their
His function in the past is of obvi-
ous and inestimable value, and to-
day it is hardly less indispensable.
I cherish and admire my Tricksy
Cunning friends, Mr. Banker and Mr.
Parson; but I do so with my own
tricksy cunning wits alert for the
safety of my purse, and for the free-
dom of my soul; and old Irascible in
me would joy to see the Dempsey-
Carpentier scientific slugging match
and a fair knockout at the end of a
good stiff fight.
Of Skillful Strong and his past and
present value nothing need be said:
his works speak louder than words —
even megaphoned from the mountain
But these valuable deviations from
the norm are of little worth com-
pared to Simple Strong — the Masses;
the masses in whom is potential all
the strength of Cunning Strong, all
the cunning of Tricksy Cunning, all
the skill of Skillful Strong; all the
genius, all the spiritual worth, all
the realizable ideals of the race.
If We So Will It!
Looked at thus (and who will
question the validity of this view),
what is there in present conditions
about which to be pessimistic?
Considering the past, and the way
we have come and the victories we
have gained; considering our lowly
beginnings, the infinitude of Nature,
and the heights which Man has at-
tained physically and spiritually, is
not the future filled to overflowing
with glorious possibilities:
If We so will it, and — have the
courage of our convictions.
A school teacher recently destroy-
ed herself — overwhelmed with the
thought of the siderial heaven's mag-
nitude compared to man.
How crassly foolish, how utterly
irrational her thought!
When I consider the unbounded
starry firmament and the equally un-
bounded microcosm — and Man's all-
embracing Mind comprehending both.
I am uplifted to the high heavens of
spiritual exaltation. For what is
Betelgeuse with its mere bulks of
incandescent gases, no matter how
huge, or _ the light years of mere
space which separate us from them,
compared to a single human spirit
which takes in, weighs, measures, an-
alyses, deduces past, present and
future, not alone of Betelgeuse but
of myriad directioned other star
masses greater and more distant?
Should we be depressed?
•We should not!
Gcd is God, and Nature is His true
Prophet: He is in His high Heaven
and all is well with the World — if
We so choose.
The necessity for rational choice is
upon us, immediate, and insistent.
We are, as I believe, at a momen-
tous stage in human history; indeed,
a vital crisis is upon us, in the devel-
opment of the race — our race, the
Something of vital moment seems
impending: it's in the air, we all feel
it; sense it in as many ways as there
are differences in characters, tempera-
ments, interests and outlooks: laws,
customs, conventions, institutions,
habits, are in turbulent flux — as never
before in the world's history; a war
is waged comparable to nothing in
human experience; the American peo-
ple in seeming violation of their con-
structive instincts, their peaceful
character and freedom-loving nature
accepts conscription, practically with-
out a dissenting voice and becomes
over night a wealth-destroying mili-
tary nation; with equal unanimity the
American people deprive themselves
(voluntarily) of many accustomed
foods, that other nations might eat;
they loan (virtually give) their wealth
by the billion to save other nations
from vital harm.
Volumes have been written upon
the signal happenings of our times,
so I will only add (as I have not seen
the matter I have in mind referred to
in a manner commensurate with its
significance) that this United States,
the largest, most united, most power-
ful political division of the White
Race, discarding all precedent, de-
manded, asked or accepted no quid
pro quo for these lavish contributions
to an ideal, but voluntarily, unani-
mously, gladly gave of its blood, its
man-power, its wealth, and its re-
sources — a gloriously unique and stu-
pendous exemplification of united col-
lective spirit — national altruism: al-
truism — national altruism, mark you:
altruism i. e. "other-consciousness,"
the necessary concomitant of Self-
Is ii conceivable that all this exal-
tation of human vitality, all this tor-
rential outpouring of human emotion,
all this spiritual uplift, means nothing
— nothing but a trivial passing phase?
I cannot so see it.
And. what phrases are more com-
monly current today than "Group con-
sciousness," "Class consciousness,"
To me it seems (and the notion will
not down) that it all presages social
re-birth: that what I have noted and
what I have implied are the preliminary
symptoms, the birth pains of social
regeneration through the emergence
of Social Self-consciousness.
"Animal" vs. "Human."
My fervent — and I firmly believe
my rationally founded — hope is, that
it is so.
If my hope is only a foolish and il-
lusory dream, then, indeed, must I
shed my comforting optimism, and
look with what philosophic resignation
I can muster at the ominous future
which faces our White Civilization.
For as I envisage the situation, it
would appear as a life-and-death con-
test between antithetical forces — so-
cially destructive "animal" parasitism
(emphasized by Capitalism), and the
vital emergence of regenerative "hu-
man" social self-consciousness.
If the latter is laggard or unduly de-
layed, by ignorance, or by greedy
parasitic design, the "downward"
trend will carry us into the social
quagmire, the social slough of de-
spond, in which will be overwhelmed
beneath the slime of animalism, the
civilization of the White World.
Menace or Salvage.
If, on the contrary, we can and do
accelerate the development of social
self-conscious rationality — mutuality —
the very momentum of the parasitic
forces may be turned to social good.
And those super-one-sided individuals
who now in the exercise of their
highly trained acquisitive propensities
are a social menace of the most pro-
nounced type, will under the (second)
"new order" of human development
become social factors of great human
worth and of highest social value.
(Within an hour after writing the
foregoing, I read in the editorial col-
umn of the morning's paper [June 7]
a few short paragraphs, so peculiarly
apropos, that I cannot refrain from
"The City of New York is in debt
more than a thousand million dollars.
One citizen, if it were possible to re-
alize on his possessions at their full
value, could pay the debt of New York
City and have more than a thousand
million left. These are days of big
"Observe this fact: If this man, fifty
years ago, had been put in charge of
New York City's finances, with power
to develop its street cars, wharves,
real estate, gas, electric light, tele-
phone and other natural monopolies
for the public benefit, New York City
wouldn't owe a dollar, would have no
disgraceful slums and would have a
thousand millions in the bank — if it
"At this point in our progress to-
ward civilization, exceptional individ-
ual intelligence is devoted to exploit-
ing the masses. Later it will strive to
protect and enrich them. Then many
problems will be solved.")
All of us, I take it, have accepted
in some form or other that: Nature's
method is evolutionary.
This, however, does not exclude
cataclysms — crises. Indeed, that such
cccur in "Nature" is even more ob-
vious than its antithesis — develop-
ment by infinitely small changes.
Animal evolution, then, as in geo-
logic adjustment, proceeds by a iong
series of imperceptible changes till a
point of critical stress is reached, then
comes the jar, the shock — the evolu-
tionary revolution — a new species is
suddenly formed, or it may be a new
order of conditions is inaugurated, to
form in its turn a new point of evo-
Social development (as I read his-
tory and see it in its becoming) is not
exempt from this otherwise universal
— revolutionary — phase of evolution.
In the complex of society, gradual
evolutionary changes are easily ob-
servable as proceeding incessantly.
Ihit what is not nearly so apparent is
the Fact that superadded to this slow
change then' is to be noted (by those
who have eyes to see) an accumulat-
ing mas- strain, which will and must,
sooner or later, be released with the
always unexpected suddenness of an
Must White Race Go?
This possibility of an "evolution-
ary revolution" is not a mere thought
or theory which can be lightly waived
aside. It is profoundly serious and
possibly a tragic condition which
As a tragic crisis to an individual
leaves a blank which takes time to
till; as our San Francisco disaster
left behind it human misery not yet
assuaged, obliterated wealth and art
treasures much of which can never
be replaced, made miles square of
black ruin involving huge unneces-
sary expenditure of human energy
to repair; as the World War lett
in its wake devastation and debt
which will take generations to rep-
arate and liquidate: so the racial
catastrophe, when it comes — as come
it will — may sweep the white race
into chaos, out of which ages of
time alone can again bring order —
possibly with the White Race gone
for all time.
Yes, the white race gone for all
Up to Us.
For "Nature" cares no more for
the white race than she does for a
drug-crazed individual, or for thought-
less San Francisco, or for suicidal
But . . !
As an individual can, by rational
foresight, turn temporary ills into
permanent benefit, so the American
Nation, by such foresight and fore-
handed preparation, may turn im-
pending crises into practically ever-
lasting social betterment — opportuni-
ties for unguessed heights of achieve-
If We so choose.
Die or Diet?
One of the common expedients in
Agriculture to get rid of predatory
pests is to foster their "natural en-
emy" — dogs for sheep-destroying
wolves, cats for rats, mongooses for
snakes, parasites for parasites.
And this expedient is usually more
effective and cheaper than shot-
You will remember also that when
(by super-strenuous predatory atten-
tion) the particular prey of a preda-
tor, or host of a parasite, "plays out,"
the predator has only two options —
either to die or to reform his diet.
Recall now the two (self-support
and parasitic) trends of survival ef-
fort referred to in Part III of this
Technocracy series — the "upward"
and "downward" path.
You will remember I said towards
the end of that Part:
"Modern man has acquired a pref-
erence for the 'upward' trend and
hence a repugnance to the idea ot
"This 'preference' has become — in
view of the overwhelming develop-
ment of parasitism (under 'Capital-
ism') during the past half-century —
probably the most important stress
factor in our modern 'Social Prob-
Modern Economics — Parasitic.
Indeed it can hardly be questioned
that modern economics, that modern
industrial enterprises, that modern
political entities or Nations (regard-
less of what they are called or the
wording of their constitutions) are
fundamentally based upon the racially
primordial principle of "parasitism",
and not upon that of "self-support".
Individually human intelligence has
developed a "preference" for the "up-
ward" path: lagging social intelli-
gence has developed conformably to
the "downward" course — hence the
rapidly growing stress and imminent
catastrophic adjustment jolt — evolu-
Easy Street— Sweat Street?
I have also, on numerous occa-
sions, reminded you that Taking is
easier than Making, and cunning
costs less physical effort than work.
Basking in the bright lights of the
roof-gardens on Easy Street is sen-
sually pleasanter than toiling and
moiling in the mud of Sweat Street.
Quite "naturally" the roof-gardens
tend to overcrowding — introducing
structural stresses tending to sudden
collapse or other catastrophic jolt —
the "natural' outcome of man's irra-
tional misuse of his freedom.
Cheese Sandwiches and Beer.
You remember the excursion boat,
and how she turned turtle and
drowned hundreds of her human
freight in the Chicago river.
Had the same weight been dis-
posed below the waterline instead of
upon the upper. decks: it would have
required many thousand foot-tons of
force, days of time, and elaborate en-
gineering, to do what "she" did in
seconds with the ease of a sleight-
Had those running the excursion
boat (foreseeing the danger) ar-
ranged long tables with piles of
cheese sandwiches thereon and kegs
of beer on tap at convenient inter-
vals — all on the lower deck, below
the waterline (whatever might have
happened to exuberant individuals),
the turning turtle would not have
happened to the boat.
Of course, I'm not putting forward
this particular precautionary measure
as a general remedy. . . . Mere-
ly illustrative of a principle.
Any way, "she" would not have
turned turtle, and thus the costly
consequences would have been
To that you will certainly agree.
Bui you may protest: Boats do
not usually turn turtle — so how could
any one foresee . . . ?
No power in the Universe will
compel one to foresee!
But! if one does not foresee . . . ;
Call the Turn!
Nature makels no distinction be-
tween the dung-ball of a tumble-bug,
a human being, a teeming metropolis,
or a race; or whether a race be
white, black, yellow, or — green.
Nor does Nature care a tinker's
dam for "untoward consequences" —
as humanly conceived.
If the conditions naturally call for
catastrophic turtle-turning — Nature
will call the turn.
And it would certainly seem that
social conditions are ripe and nat-
urally call for the social structure to
turn turtle, for it is obviously top-
There is too much superstructure
above the waterline, too much at-
traction on the upper deck — and too
little "sandwiches and beer" below
the waterline — to satisfy modern
man, the modern "masses".
Seventy-five billion dollars yearly
interest — "unearned increment" — para-
sitically abstracted from the toiling
and moiling proletariat!
Animalistic — Humanistic.
In brief, and this is our (oft-men-
•tioned. but seldom baldly stated) "So-
cial Problem": our social structure is
built to facilitate and develop para-
sitism — parasitism which is essen-
tially animalistic, not a humanistic
Hence (humanly speaking) our so-
cial structure is built upon a false
The inevitable outcome requires no
prophet to foretell — it is obvious:
If "society" continues along pres-
ent lines of development, the "ani-
mal" will survive, the "human" will
Truly! turning turtle of the social
structure is imminent — if - we - don't -
look - out!
Detail Remedies Futile.
Since the existing social structure is
faulty — false in principle, it is self-
evident that no amount of well-inten-
tioned "remedial" measures directed
to specific "evils" will be of avail. Such
activities may, indeed, conceivably
make the general "evil" worse, by
adding stresses and accentuating mal-
adjustment and lack of co-ordination
between man's essential nature and his
Reconstruction means that:
Our reconstructive efforl must be
expended purposive ly along basic
lines, on fundamental principles to
bring the resulting "society" into har-
mony with man's essential "human"
The Inventor — A Teacher.
The typical inventor is pre-eminent-
ly the man who consciously (and
painstakingly) seeks and finds new
and favorable relations to natural
forces, for the realization of a pre-
conceived purpose: the purpose being
the satisfaction of a "want," i.e. lack
of adjustment to environment.
He makes dreams come true.
He translates an idea into a useable
A successful machine is only an
idea (or group of ideas) become em-
bodied. It is the essential idea, not
the mass of details, which character-
izes the completed result. As in anal-
ysing the battleship, you will remem-
ber, I called to your attention, not a
mass of bewildering detail parts, but
the essential ideas and how they hang
together and combine to produce a
What, then, have we specifically
available for social reconstruction,
analogous, or socially corresponding
first: to the inventor's means, and
second: to his mental equipment?
As to the first: The United States
has more than a hundred million peo-
ple: vast productive power: vast con-
sumption capability, vast "purchasing"
power. Its natural resources are on
even larger scale. It has every essen-
tial food product and raw material
except rubber. More than three mil-
lion square miles in solid mass, ex-
traordinarily diversified climatically
and topographically, etc. About 300
million acres under cultivation: lead-
ing place among all nations. More
farm animals than combined five prin-
cipal civilized nations next United
States. Forest only exceeded by Rus-
sia. Half the world's coal measures
are in the United States. One-third of
world's railway mileage in the United
States; and one-sixth of the world's
The United Stales, with only 6%
of the world's population, produces of
( rold '. 21 )' i
Iron and steel 409<
Copper 60' -
Lead 41 )' I
Zinc 50' e
Aluminum 60* '<
Coal oil 66%
Loans to European gov-
Private loans 10,000,000,000
Merchandise on con-
which "the United States" has coming
(?) from Europe.
And as to the second: It is a mis-
taken notion that "inventiveness" is a
special "faculty" endowing the few
and withheld from the many. (As
clearly pointed out in a widely copied
article, "Is the Inventive Faculty a
Myth," by the present writer, in the
Engineering Magazine, May, 1895.)
Varying at most in degree, inventive-
ness is a universal "human" posses-
sion; though by most people little
used and hence not fully realized. And
through disuse (both self-inhibited and
socially repressed) has become "prac-
tically" unusable and so "practically"
lacking, in many individuals, hence
seemingly rare in the community.
This general inventiveness is sus-
ceptible of enormous development
through judicious exercise and proper
stimulation, both individually and so-
cially, of which stimulation — freedom
is the foremost factor.
But there is also available a body of
special inventiveness, which hitherto
(most stupidly) has not been socially
tapped: the Scientists and the Tech-
"To Know"— "To Make."
These Scientists and these Techni-
cians arc the best fitted by nature, by
instinct, by economic trait, and by
educational training, to seek and to es-
tablish appropriate social relations to
natural and national physical forces
The Scientist is so fitted because he
is the most intensive human expres-
sion of the "Desire to Know," which
desire rises from the general mass of
the animal (monkey-like) instinct of
The Technician is so fitted because
lit is the most intensive human expres-
sion of the urge to real-ize, which urge
rises from the general mass of the
animal (beaver-like) instinct to make.
But the work of both scientist and
technician, hitherto, has been "pri-
vate;" socially, (collectively) unco-
ordinated, often enough contradictory,
Wry significant of the parasitic
trend of present "society" is the woe-
ful contrast between how much ap-
plied science has increased the mere
hulk of products, and how little the
infinitely more important physical and
spiritual freedom of the producer.
And this, in spite of the fact, as we
have seen, that the prime function of
"society" is the liberation of person-
ality not — the deification of "efficient"
Since, as a rule, scientists and tech-
nicians are not rich men's sons (and
a man must eat to live) their work
usually is performed for the "good" of
the possessing few rather than for the
benefit of the wanting many or — the
( '( immonweal.
In the First Series of these Tech-
nocracy papers I indicated, on broad
lines but sufficiently clearly for prac-
tical purposes a "practical remedy" —
On numerous occasions I have di-
rected your attention to the prac-
tically universal belief in magic —
magic causation. The use directly
and indirectly, both of this fallacy
and of the widespread belief therein,
makes them into effective handser-
vants of parasitism under its "Cap-
The spirit and method of Science
arc the direct antithesis of magic.
It is science which has produced
the "Machine Shop".
It is magic that has produced
In the machine shop. Science rules
only in so far as machine processes
go: there its control stops.
The social control of the Machine
Shop lies with the Towosis of
Thus it is that our Towosis (like
those Of Trobriand) control not only
the work, the workmen, the work
shop — "industrial society" is only the
Great Work Shop — but our Towosis
run the scientists and Science itself!
The "natural" consequence of this
non-social ("kept") position of scien-
tists ami technicians, including our
Towosi pensioned teachers and Pro-
fessors of "Economics", is that they
have acquired a bias in favor of para-
sitic Tricksy C. Towosi, both of
which (i. e., Towosi and their bias
in his favor) arc in pathetically lu-
dicrous opposition to their own in-
The existing mix-up of course is
advantageous to Emperor Towosi of
Finance, to the Kings Towosi of
Commerce, to the Barons Towosi of
Industry, and to all the lesser To-
wosis in their various degrees, and
is naturally supported by them. In-
deed, the functional mix-up, in large
part, directly results from this per-
niciously parasitic pyramidal Towosi
system of self-assumed autocratic
The liberation of our Industrial De-
mocracy from the baneful influence
and Autocratic rule of Tricksy C.
Towosi magic would make possible
the elimination of the existing con-
fusion, resulting from the chaotic in-
termingling of the component pro-
cesses of Production, Distribution,
and Direction, with enormously en-
hanced "freedom of opportunity" for
"personal" initiative — self-expression.
The emancipation of science, of
technology, of productive industry,
and thus of all society, from the con-
trol of Tricksy C. Towosi (his myth-
ical manufactured "credit" and his
money magic) can only, as I see it,
be accomplished by science nation-
alized — Technocracy.
Produce - Distribute - Direct.
The tripartite division of industrial
process into Production, Distribution,
and Direction is obligatory from its
nature. Necessary because it corre-
sponds to the tripart separation of
the natural economic urge which dif-
ferentiates men into, and motivates,
Skilful Strongs, Cunning Strongs, and
To violate this division by over-
lapping or by exchange of natural
function, is to flout Nature, for it
attempts to negate a nature given
To break Nature's laws is an of-
fence which neither man individually
nor man collectively — society — can
commit with impunity.
Blind Leaders of the Blind.
One natural result of such irra-
tionality is present day social con-
fusion — futile functioning from' which
few (seemingly) benefit, while many
really suffer. For even the few en-
joy only temporary and a very ques-
Thus irrationally led civilization
has run wild — chasing phantoms.
Verily! the World is vibrant with
signs, Europe reeks with bloody por-
tents, and the whole Towosi Finan-
cial Cabal has gone megalomaniac —
dreaming "credit" pipe-dreams of the
boundless wealth of infinite futurity,
and greedily striving to grasp these
Whom the gods would destroy
they first make mad.
Scientist — Social Servant.
Think for a moment of T. N. T.
Think of Twenty-inch-, and Sev-
enty-five-mile Guns. . . .
Think of Air-ships. . .
Think of Submarines. . . .
Think of "Poison Dew" — that can
destroy all human life for miles
Think of disease germs. . .
Think of all the devilish poten-
tialities of science and technology —
in the hands of self-centered Tricksy
Cunning. . .
Think . . . !
Then . . . Is it not as apparent
to you, as it seems self-evident to
me, that this "need" (of nationalizing
the Scientist and Technician) has be-
come a crying "want" — a danger-
fraughl mal-adjustment in modern
society, our Alan-made environment?
Then . . . Does it not strike
you as a self-evidently valid eco-
nomic expedient and a wholly ra-
That, by virtue alone of becoming
a Scientist or a Technician, one
should thereby concomitantly and
concurrently become an honored and
suitably rewarded National Official —
That, every academy or college of
Science and Technology should be
an industrial "West Point", a con-
structive "Annapolis" — a National
training school of con-structive In-
"Let Him Be Your Servant."
For this social "need" to become
a generally recognized social "want";
for the validity of this proposition to
be generally self-evident, there is re-
quired not only an enlightened vision
of their social function by scientists
and technicians, but its discernment
by the sovereign People, the source
of all power and progress of the
"And whosoever will be chief (i e.,
leader) among you, let him be your
That — is Industrial Democracy.
Parasitic Toll Gates.
There can be no "freedom of the
seas" while one nation controls the
Commerce Routes: in like manner,
there can be no "freedom of oppor-
tunity" while one (acquisitive) class
controls the Highways of Oppor-
tunity needed for human self-expres-
sion (natural forces, resources and
means of production), with parasitic
toll-gates of conventional ownership.
Perish — Parasitically.
Not parasitism, but creative self-
expressing Personality is the quin-
tessence of "human nature", hence
of "human" need: "Social Recon-
struction" — our Social Problem — has
plainly posed for it its ultimate ob-
This must be the central idea of
reconstructed human society.
The what to be attained is clear.
How it is to be attained is equally
Society must be so re-organized as
to give the amplest opportunity (not
alone to Tricksy Cunning, but) _ to
each citizen for real-izing his aspira-
It must do this, or — perish para-
Obviously the conscious and pur-
posive desire for such a society is it-
self an aspiration.
But . . . !
Aspirations, be it always remem-
bered, conceived in the "realm of
spirit", must (and can only be) real-
ized in the world of acts and things.
They must be "reduced to practice"
in a world of mechanical matter and
"Force of Ideas."
It folloAvs directly from this that
the oft-repeated and cherished phrase
"the force of ideas" expresses a wide-
spread misconception, a fallacious,
dangerously misleading notion.
The only "force" which science
has recognized or knows anything
about, is the "force" which moves
ponderable objects. But, Ideals and
Ideas expressed in acts and things
(i. e., force and matter), sums up
the miracle of human life.
Reduction to Practice.
Mal-adjustments — needs, lacks —
conscious "wants," are our urges;
Nature, is our boundless store of
forces and resources;
Science,, is our systematized de-
scriptive catalogue of these forces and
Technology, is our tested and spe-
cialized experience in dealing with the
available materials, means, methods
and processes — systematized by Sci-
ence—wherewith to satisfy our "wants";
Invention, is (and ideally exhibits)
the method of reducing productive
ideas and ideals to practice;
Finance, is (and ideally exhibits)
the method of reducing parasitic ideas
and ideals to practice.
From the effects and effective meth-
ods of "Invention" we may get valu-
able suggestions as to what social
course to pursue, and from the effects
and effective methods of "Finance" we
may get equally valuable suggestions
as to what to avoid in our solution of
the "Social Problem," and the reduc-
tion of the solution to practice.
Then : Exercising our unified free-
dom to choose our Social Destiny; in-
ventively using our combined con-
structive imagination to visualize it,
our mutualized reason to rationally
plan it, utilizing our racial experience
scientifically organized and our scien-
tifically co-ordinated national re-
sources to actualize it; we may cour-
ageously attack our "Social Problem"
with well-founded hopeful confidence
that we will realize imagination's pic-
tured social joys and rational social
purposes, and — prevent the recur-
rence of painfully remembered social
mishaps. Thus, as the Inventor
realizes his ideas, we, too, can ma'ice
our social dreams come true.
And so — like Mr. W. Man of our
parable — our days may be long in
our long-sought land of promise,
which some call the Country of Self-
Realization, and many others, the
Land of Joyous Accomplishment; but
most, (Simple Strongs,) name it sim-
ply — Opportunity.
Essentials of Productive Industry.
As adequate differentiation is one
law of a successful machine, so co-
ordination is the other. This is ex-
hibited in the machine which is Man,
no less than by the purposive struc-
tures he makes.
Lacking self-consciousness there
can be no purpose;
Lacking purpose there can be no
Lacking co-ordination there can be
no realization of purpose;
Lacking knowledge of Nature there
can be no successful industry;
Lacking the requirements of Na-
ture's laws and the needs of Human
Nature — the most fundamental of
which is freedom — there can be no
permanent productive organization;
Lacking (unhampered) direction of
scientists and technicians, (whose
Nature-made function is to know and
to utilize the facts and forces of
Nature,) there can be no permanent
Lacking organized production, dis-
tribution, and direction, with effective
co-ordination of the economic traits
(strength, skill, cunning) — all unified
for a predetermined purpose — there
can be no (private or public) indus-
Essentials of Industrial Democracy.
Thus, from all the foregoing, it
conclusively appears that:
Lacking spiritual liberty;
Lacking organized co-ordination of
the economic factors — Strong men;
Skilled men; Cunning men;
Lacking intelligent (non-parasitic)
co-ordination of the natural forces
Lacking rational (natural) division
into production, distribution, direc-
Lacking guidance of worthy na-
tional leaders, whose minds are
"stored with knowledge of the great
and fundamental truths of Nature and
the Laws of her operations";
Lacking nationally-conscious pur-
Lacking any of these essentials
there can be no true and permanent
Industrial Democracy: Q. E. D.
As my constructive imagination vis-
ualizes the modern social complex
and its "Social Problem," these Na-
ture-made requirements are met and
provided for by Technocracy.
But, above all, and before all, (as
I see it), there can be no true, worth-
while and permanent national "So-
ciety" (worthy of the Human Race,
which has produced Newton, Shakes-
pear, Socrates, Christ), lacking uni-
fied National Self-conscious Spirit —
initiative with responsibility — and
hence an ever upward expanding ra-
tional, consciously perceived National
Purpose, expressing our National Per-
sonality—A GREAT NATIONAL
What I have written in these Tech-
nocracy papers is not destructive crit-
icism. On the contrary, if there is
truth in the ideas which I have en-
deavored to formulate, if there is va-
lidity in any of my propositions, then
they can only be constructive. For
truth is destructive only of fallacies,
errors and ignorance; which is only a
round-about way of describing con-
What I have endeavored to do is
to answer, for my own individual sat-
isfaction, and out of my social urge,
What is the meaning of the Social
What is the nature of its energizing
Is there an intelligible Principle
behind it all?
What is the nature of the Principle?
Whither is the World-wide Move-
In "Technocracy" I have clarified
my own thoughts; and if, incidentally,
I have done a like service for others,
and thrown some light upon these
momentous questions, my purpose
has been accomplished.
"I thank vou."
Fernwald. Berkelev, Calif.
June 8, 1921.
SHOULD ANIMAL PARASITISM OR HUMAN PERSONALITY
BE THE GOAL OF OUR SOCIAL STRIVINGS
OUR NATIONAL OBJECTIVE?
The main •function of society is to oppose its
combined effectiveness to every natural and
artificial condition which tends to hamper the
freedom of the individual in so far as the acts of
the individual are consistent with the community
The products of effort are the results of life
energy expressing itself through an individual
upon his environment to the end that this in-
dividual may and shall express more individual
life. Ownership of products, therefore, is as
essentially inherent in the producing individual
as are the faculties from which the products flow ;
thus products are, in right and in reason, in-
alienable from the producing individual either by
himself or by others — except for their equivalent.
Equal liberty is the natural right of every per-
son to the end that purposefulness may be ex-
pressed and function freely, limited only by per-
The women are the natural wards of the com-
munity, for its life and well-being are inseparable
from theirs. By right of her womanhood's
natural function, every woman is therefore en-
titled to maintenance and protection as a first
charge upon the community resources. Realized
motherhood places the community under obliga-
tion proportional to the benefit accruing to it. In
this benefit the mother is, in equity, entitled to
As the social and the true political unit, the
family (as a unified group) is entitled effectively
to voice its unified objectives, and to be repre-
sented in the conduct of all community affairs.
(Male- and female-suffrage tends to engender sex
antagonism.) Society starts with the union of
the sexes; social functioning should start there
also: family suffrage — one family, one vote.
The community's most valuable and vital asset
are the children, therefore self-preservation makes
it imperative that the highest intelligence and
unremitting effort be expended upon their prep-
aration for carrying forward the national ob-
Every individual is entitled to equal oppor-
tunity (i. e. without social or economic handicap),
to the end that self-expression may have fullest
scope and the individual thus be enabled to reach
his highest effectiveness for self-realization and
for the welfare of the community.
Nature's resources are its gifts to all; they
are man's inalienable environment; they are his
common heritage and his common birthright.
As it is only by and through the organization
of the community that the individual can socially
function, it is inherently right and reasonable
that the surplus product of that functioning
should accrue to the community at his death.
A PRACTICAL PROGRAM
I SELF-OWNERSHIP— "I will" instead of
II PERSONALITY instead of Parasitism.
III KNOWLEDGE of Nature's Laws instead of
Belief in Magic.
[V FREEDOM of Opportunity instead of the
Serfdom of Necessity.
V NATIONAL BOOK-KEEPING instead of
VI COSTLESS MONEY instead of Commodity
Money — National Check Medium of Ex-
VII NATIONAL HONESTY instead of Privat-
ely "Manufactured Credit."
VIII REWARDS for Making instead of Legal-
IX INSURANCE at Cost for all, by all, instead
of Exploiting for "Profit" the Mishaps of
X NATIONAL PURPOSE.
A Protest Against Mechanistic Efficiency
By William Henry Smyth
(Reprinted from Industrial Management, January, 1917.)
We all know the Explosive Worker
type and generally recognize him with
The trouble with working explo-
sively is that the individual addicted to
this character of activity won't fit into
any decently organized scheme of pro-
duction. He's a sort of human bomb-
shell — lacking a timer. So he "goes
off" at any old time, day or night —
always unexpectedly — with the utmost
disregard to sensitive nerves and es-
In the family he's the juvenile
"problem"; in school, the hopeless im-
possible! and in the shop, the idlest
of idle apprentices (with a big ?). In
the factory, he's the man one is always
going to discharge, — but . . . Or
he's our Boss, who is "a Holy Ter-
There arc but two places for the
Explosive Worker to land — at the top
or at the bottom. And, characteris-
tically he's rapid in getting there.
Still worse, when true to type, he is
disconcertingly apt to reverse his lo-
cation from time to time, whether top
or bottom, with the speed of a light-
ning change artist.
The Efficiency Expert has no place
for the Explosive Worker — except in
his vocabulary of dynamic expletives
and fulminative epithets.
Of course, all this refers to the typ-
ical Exploder; but, curiously enough,
each one of us at times looks back
with self-hugging secret joy to occa-
sions and experiences of working ex-
plosively in our own otherwise hum-
drum career. And, reflecting, realizes
with some surprise that these stand
luminously out as our really worth
while adventures — life's decisive bat-
Such reminiscences, and the feelings
evoked, jolt one into thinking — to
wondering. . . .
Work Is Human.
There appears to be, nay, there
surely is, something amazingly hu-
manly human about working explo-
sively. We feel that there is truly
something warm, vital, hot-blooded,
about this sort of activity which is
lacking in the efficient routine of eight-
hours-a-day work at so-much per.
In fancy we flit backward and aban-
donedly re-erupt our own little ex-
plosions. . . . Eight hours! — Pah!
Twenty-four is all too short! Hours!
Days! What are they to the Explo-
sive Worker — during eruption. Mere
irrelevant astronomical incidents.
But, — with a sigh — returning to here
and now — from memory's fecund
realm, where we too forged vibrant
dreams most strenuously into things
of beauty, worth and substance, paint-
ed with comets' tails, playing skittles
with time and space — (Oh magic state,
wherein all work is play, and play
means working explosively!) — there
still remains that work-a-day remind-
er, the vivid impression, potent intui-
tion, the "hunch" of discovery, so sug-
gestive of revelation in its flash-like
And this is the "hunch":
Essence of Living.
Explosive Working? Why, explo-
sive activity is not "working" at all!
It is the essence of living. Life itself!
"Efficient" working and working ex-
plosively are wholly and essentially
different matters of experience.
"Efficient" working expresses obedi-
ence to the outside pressure of brute
mechanistic Nature in the struggle to
Working Explosively is inner life
insistent of self-expression, the willful
impulse of vital personality in raptur-
ous culmination, realizing life — the joy
of being expressed in doing. God-like
One means Compulsion; the other
Routine working is an efficient
means lo an indefinitely desirable end.
Explosive Working is an end in itself,
regardless of outcome. The very joy
of working. Self realization.
One suggests Force and Mechanism;
the other, Life and Liberty.
In one we function, contract, and
serve a purpose; in the other we live,
expand, dominate. In one we work
by necessity as more or less efficient
"elements" in a mighty but cold and
incomprehensible machine; 'in the
other I am the living IT— Earth-God
of things, of matter, and of motion —
Is Human Problem.
This issue involves no mere moot
or academic distinction, about which
idle men may split dialectic hairs or
bandy fluent phrases to fill a vacant
hour. Profoundly is it otherwise, for
it touches closely on the deepest and
most significant of all human prob-
lems — the eternal paradox of freedom.
At bottom it is this question of human
worth as against human productive ef-
ficiency which is being fought out in
the World-conflict today — and not
alone in the spectacular European
So much for the "hunch." And now
for the questions which it raises.
These are many tough conundrums,
which I have no intention of now at-
tempting to answer.
Here is one, by way of example:
Is the ultimate outcome of mechan-
istic efficiency humanly desirable? Is
the Art of Efficiency itself efficientr
Clearly, there is no place in this
"Art" for "Explosive" working; and
less than no place for the "Exploder."
Both are too spasmodic, orgastic, con-
vulsive; and either would burst into its
ultimate primordial atoms the most
systematic efficiency organization ever
invented. Yet, almost equally clear is
it, that without both of these joyous
unruly factors there would he no Art —
dramatic, artistic, nor even produc-
tive — in which to he efficient, to prac-
tice the Art of Efficiency.
A real Art of Human Efficiency
Fernwald, Berkeley, November, 1916.
must, of course, take cognizance of
the inherent characteristics of the hu-
man elements; and the most basic
quality of life — certainly of life exem-
plified in Man — is this very quality of
i xplosiveness — explosiveness which we
all so commonly overlook and insist-
ently ignore till made to sit up and
lake ndtice by some extra-violenr
eruption in our own vicinity, or in
one's own self.
Here, then, seems to be a funda-
mental difficulty: Efficiency requires
control in order to be efficient. But
human beings, to be human, must
freely effervesce — uncontrollably erupt
— or contract to mere efficiency rou-
This raises the question at once:
To what end is the modern Art of
Efficiency directed? What is its con-
sciously desired goal?
Of course, we all know the obvious
and seemingly conclusive answer: To
make better men — in order to increase
This answer, it seems to me, in-
stead of being conclusive, only raises
another string of deeply vital ques-
Is "Efficiency" Efficient?
Can an Art of Efficiency, dealing
with human elements incidentally, but
with products as its first considera-
tion, conceivably result in other than
ultimate disaster to the incidental
Can the finished human output of
our boasted Art become more desir-
ably Human and less machines than
the inefficient human raw materials?
By Efficiency's first law, must not
the primary object necessarily divert
to itself all consideration — de-human-
ize the Human Element into highly
efficient mechanisms for production'
Is mechanistic efficiency Humanly
Is the Art of Efficiency, by any
chance, mis-directed? Misdirected
towards products as an end in itself,
instead of towards the development of
vitally initiative human individuals —
joyous workers, to whom product is
a by-product, wealth an incident —
\1 I \, who, for the very joy qf the
working, work explosively?
By William Henry Smyth
(Reprinted from Industrial
Between working efficiently and
working ineffectively there can be
no question as to which is the more
desirable, nor would I raise any such
"Working Explosively" is not an
argument for inefficiency, quite the
contrary. The article, as I intended
it, and as I think it indicates to the
thoughtful reader, is merely a Stop!
Look! Listen! signal; a hand raised;
a suggestion to pause — pause a mo-
ment to consider whether we are
intelligently directing our efforts
toward the end for which we seek,
the goal for which we strive, the
reward for which we all struggle.
My own experience with life
ranges through the whole gamut,
from the coarsest forms of manual
labor up to original constructive
mental work, both as employed and
employer — at the grind of "work-
ing efficiently" and the joy of^
"working explosively." I have as-
sociated on terms of equality with
hoboes, with laborers, with mechan-
ics, and with captains of industry
and finance. And far from being
a socialist, I am individualistic to the
nth degree. Thus, my Stop! Look!
Listen! warning is based on facts,
and upon experience, not upon the
fancies of an overwrought imagina-
Importance of Worker
Based upon this varied experience,
the question I wish to raise involves
the relative importance of the work-
er, or his work — human worth, or
the products of human toil.
Efficiency is no new invention; it
is as old as intelligence itself. None
realize efficiency so completely as
the creative genius, — our Darwins,
Faradays, Edisons, and Fords, — and
none so completely practice and ex-
emplify working explosively. Genius
itself, we are told, is the capability
for taking infinite pains.
Management, May, 1917.)
The Art of Efficiency proposes to
substitute the short cut of imitating
efficient mechanical tricks for the
toilsome process of becoming a
The Explosive Worker is a strenu-
ous worker whose intense preoccupa-
tion is with accomplishing perfectly
that predetermined end in which his
interest is centered. He works with
intelligent personal intention driven
by the explosive energy of his pur-
pose. If he is driving rivets, he
is driving them so that they will
accomplish the object intended.
Working Explosively is human
purpose expressing itself through
inanimate material; it is not the
function of an unhurried efficient
human machine striking so many
well directed blows in a definite
Means Personal Energy
Working Explosively means per-
sonal energy, strenuously applied to
the accomplishment of a personally
Working Explosively is not a
matter of habit, instinct, or routine.
It involves the concentration of all
the faculties upon the work in hand
to the end of producing the result
desired. It is subconscious impulse
raised to conscious effort of accom-
The Efficiency Expert joyously
fills his God-like function as he
shuffles numbered human "hands"
and rearranges his human "pegs"
into round or square holes, so that
"hands" and "pegs" shall contribute
most efficiently to production. But,
soulless pegs and automaton hands
which will passively stay put are
somewhat different factors from
Men and Women with personal likes
and dislikes and smouldering pas-
sions which must explode either in
Work or W r ar — hence industrial un-
rest and warfare.
The "Art of Efficiency" is merely
a new name for an old and very
dangerous form — or misdirection — of
The essential question is not how
many more billion dollars worth
of product can be made or saved,
but how many more million human
beings can express themselves in the
direction of personal accomplish-
ment. And, in my view, this latter
course is the more logical and the
more likely one to produce the for-
mer results indirectly through the
interest of the worker than directly
through the efficient control of his
"Working Efficiently" assumes
control outside of the worker, direct-
ing his actions and efforts toward a
purpose in the mind of the con-
"Working Explosively" assumes
control inside of the worker, di-
recting his action and energy
towards an interesting outcome.
In a broad sense, one is Autocracy
and the other Democracy. Imper-
fectly but significantly, Germany
and the United States repre-
sent these two opposite ideals
of human activity. The one repre-
sents efficient working, the other
a crude and embryonic form of
working explosively. One makes for
mechanistic efficiency, the other for
human liberty. '
Hopefulness is a personal quality,
it cannot exist in connection with
work in the outcome of which the
worker is not interested, and Hope-
fulness is a fundamental factor in
"Working Explosively" and "Work-
ing Efficiently" express only imper-
fectly the underlying idea in each.
In essence, they imply two opposite
ideals. In the former, emphasis is
placed upon the worker; in the latter,
emphasis is placed upon the work. To
my way of thinking the two points
of view are essentially antithetical.
Of course, the only way of bring-
ing about the welfare of human kind
is on the basis of right and justice.
But, who shall determine these mo-
mentous bases? You or I? The
Efficiency Expert or the "pegs"
which he re-arranges into round or
square holes? The employer or the
To close our eyes and pretend that
there is no conflict between employer
and employed is futility itself. To
say that the interest of these is mu-
tual when the employer has all of
the joy of working explosively and
the employed all the grind of work-
ing efficiently is equally futile.
I gird neither against employer
nor employed. My proposition is:
from the joy of the work — Working
Explosively — come better men.
more worthy citizens, and greater
I hold that a human being — human
personality — is of infinitely more
consequence than the product of the
hands and brain; that a true ulti-
mate efficiency implies the liberation
of Man rather than the efficient con-
trol of his actions; that the ultimate
well-being of all implies not the in-
telligent control of passively efficient
human elements, but the liberation
of men and women to purposeful
joy of Working Explosively.
Femwald, Berkeley, March, 1917.
IS THE EFFICIENT CONTROL OF MEN
MORE DESIRABLE THAN
IMPLIES SCIENTIFIC REORGANIZATION
OF NATIONAL ENERGY AND RESOURCES
COORDINATING INDUSTRIAL DEMOCRACY
TO EFFECT THE WILL OF THE PEOPLE.
SHOULD THE SELFISH CUNNING OF FINANCE OR
UNSELFISH SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY
MANAGE INDUSTRIAL DEMOCRACY?
AN AIMLESS MAN AND A
PURPOSELESS NATION ARE
EQUALLY FUTILE FRAGMENTS
OF RAW MATERIAL IN THE
EVER GRINDING MILL OF
NATURAL EVOLUTIONARY AND
LACKING NATIONAL PURPOSE
WHAT GOAL HAS PATRIOTISM
UNIVERSITY of CALIFORNIA
II "IP* I
1 '°o U0629 1990
UC SOUTHERN ^^^mffiflB I
AA 001 168 068 3
: v -r
1 1 J£ ' •